A great bit of investigation.
On October 14th, 2014, the Sun decided it was time for a coronal mass ejection, the irregular hiccups that see it belch out astounding quantities of magnetised plasma. And after careful analysis, we've now fingerprinted the plasma's passing using no fewer than ten spacecraft. The event and subsequent analysis are detailed in a …
There's a big range, from the one on Cassini which is 3kg (plus a boom to get it far away from the rest of the spacecraft), to the sort that gets used on cubesats which is a single chip on a breakout board (~5g), which is stuck on the end of a solar panel.
I think if you could sacrifice 50 grams, then you could fit a reasonably useful magnetometer on your spacecraft.
I seem to remember them coordinating a bunch of the stuff around Mars a few years ago to look at something, but unless I've missed several stories (entirely possible) this still seems relatively unusual.
It's great for science that we've got so many long-lasting probes out there now. I don't think we're launching more than in the 70s - they're just more capable and operate for years. And that gives us opportunities like this. Hooray.
I wonder if it's just because we can't do anything about it. We're not interested in gamma ray bursts or black holes, or any other mega space phenomenon.
Only recently we started caring about asteroid deflection, and now they're starting to study asteroids a bunch more.
We are quite interested in CMEs. Power companies have done at least some work on it, since the large amount of damage the Canadians copped in the 80s. The European and US space agencies have both bunged up different solar observatories - and there's now a space weather centre which can supposedly give early warning. Which may mean we can shut some stuff down beforehand, and give it a better chance to survive any damage.
I'm sure we could be better prepared. But it's not a subject that's been ignored.
My guess is that another Carrington event would brick just about everything. I even doubt the ability of my 1964 GT car to survive it unscathed owing to induced currents in its primitive wiring. That said, I'm damn sure that my old car would be easier to get up and running again than my modern one…