The sun is by far the most important source of energy for life on Earth. However, solar storms, which wax and wane in an 11-year cycle, spray energy that can endanger spacecraft, astronauts and communication systems. An explosive solar flare can be more powerful than millions of hydrogen bombs. The mother of all known solar storms thus far occurred on Sept. 1, 1859, when a blob of sun slammed into Earth. Sparks flew from telegraph systems in Europe and North America, causing fires. A study by the National Academy of Sciences concluded that a direct hit by such a storm could cause some $2 trillion in damage, shutting down the power grid and rendering satellites at least temporarily blind. Forget about trying to use the internet or your ATM… Fortunately, scientists believe that the sun will destroy the earth in about 5 billion years. So we have more than enough time to take good care of our planet.