Mad scientists at the army's Picatinny Arsenal have developed a weapon that can shoot lightning bolts down laser beams to fry electronics and detonate explosives. But can it cook a hotdog?
"Air is composed of neutral molecules and is an insulator," Fischer said. When lightning from a thunderstorm leaps from cloud to ground, it behaves just as any other sources of electrical energy and follows the path of least resistance.
"The plasma channel conducts electricity way better than un-ionized air, so if we set up the laser so that the filament comes near a high voltage source, the electrical energy will travel down the filament," Fischer elaborated.
A target, an enemy vehicle or even some types of unexploded ordnance, would be a better conductor than the ground it sits on. Since the voltage drop across the target would be the same as the voltage drop across the same distance of ground, current flows through the target. In the case of unexploded ordnance, it would detonate, explained Fischer.
Have I ever told you I've been struck my lightning before? Well I was lying if I did. It's just a fantasy of mine, it's never actually happened. So yeah, the lightning bolt laser-gun. That's cool and all, Army, but you know what you should get next? A nicer camera.
Thanks to richard, bb and joe, who agree it's probably not the kind of gun you want to wave your hand in front of jokingly after it's powered up. Pfft, I'll do it for $1.