A group of scientists have successfully guided lightning bolts with a laser for the first time in history.
The experiment took place in the Swiss mountains during a heavy thunderstorm last year.
Scientists accomplished the feat by firing rapid laser pulses at a cluster of thunderstorms for six hours.
Instruments recording laser bursts were able to detect four lightning bolts deflecting off course.
Scientists figure out how to deflect lightning bolts with lasers https://t.co/BiOuDBpYT7
— Independent (@ Independent) January 17, 2023
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The Guardian reported the science behind the experiment:
The laser deflects the lightning bolts, creating an easier path for the electrical discharge to flow downward. When laser pulses are fired into the sky, the change in the refractive index of the air causes them to compress and ionize the air molecules around them.
This results in long chains of what researchers call filaments in the sky, where air molecules are rapidly heated and run off at supersonic speeds, leaving a channel of low-density, ionized air. These channels, which last for milliseconds, are more electrically conductive than the surrounding air, creating an easier path for lightning to follow.
Although the new feat could help prevent forest fires or striking tall buildings, many believe the new ability to deflect lightning bolts will be used for ill will.
Throughout history, weather manipulation has been used as a war strategy.
Earlier during the Vietnam War, the CIA launched Operation Popeye, a seed cloud operation that caused monsoon rains to hit the Ho Chi Minh Trail, causing damaged crops and large mudslides.
US chemical climate modification program during the Vietnam War 1967-1972.
The highly classified project was sponsored by Henry Kissinger and the CIA without the authorization of then-Defense Secretary Melvin Laird. pic.twitter.com/dx4zfirlBw
— Andrew King (@twitandrewking) January 15, 2023