Scientists Developing Laser To Control Storms

April 25, 2014


Researchers at the University of Arizona and University of Central Florida are working together to develop a high-powered laser that could make it rain and lightning when directed at clouds. But what if it's pointed into the eye of an enemy? Hardcore science!:

"When a laser beam becomes intense enough, it behaves differently than usual -- it collapses inward on itself," Matthew Mills, a graduate student at the Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers, told UCF Today. "The collapse becomes so intense that electrons in the air's oxygen and nitrogen are ripped off creating plasma -- basically a soup of electrons."

At that point, the plasma immediately tries to spread the beam back out, causing a struggle between the spreading and collapsing of an ultra-short laser pulse. This struggle is called filamentation, and creates a filament or "light string" that only propagates for a while until the properties of air make the beam disperse.

The researchers are working on what they call a "filament extension cable" to withstand the collapse.

"If you wrap a large, low-intensity, doughnut-like 'dress' beam around the filament and slowly move it inward, you can provide this arbitrary extension," Mills said. "Since we have control over the length of a filament with our method, one could seed the conditions needed for a rainstorm from afar. Ultimately, you could artificially control the rain and lightning over a large expanse."

I didn't understand any of that. "Doughnut-like dress beams?" I understand doughnuts, but I don't know what they have to do with weather-controlling laser beams. I wish I could make it rain whenever I wanted. I told you about the one time I did make it rain at the strip club right? "With nickels?" They did not appreciate that.

Thanks to Mr. K, who agrees this is all going to end badly because Mother Nature does NOT appreciate being f***ed with.

  • S.M. Archer

    I feel like this is article is going to be in history books 100 years from now, when the Earth is in shambles, under the chapter, "Where it all went wrong".

  • bolloks

    wow just like the one in red alert 2

  • Aalok

    This is an interesting idea, but I wonder what type of practical applications this could have that would actually benefit people? Maybe making it rain in areas plagued with drought? But who knows what kind of consequences this could bring. It's an interesting topic to think about for sure.

  • adsfasdfasdf

    i'd assume consequences are comparable to cloud seeding using fireworks style rockets loaded with dry ice/iodide (as in already a thing that can be done since like the 30s. no lasers), or the removal of kinetic energy through windfarms (butchering entire flocks of birds and bats short term and slowly/quietly destroying our weather patterns long term while all the environmentalism majors mindlessly pushing for them are distracted worrying about /ocean/ currents and lining politician's pockets with this global warming hysteria.)

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