Lightning is one of the most terrible natural phenomena occurring on our planet 50 times per second. Discharges of electricity, hotter than the surface of the Sun, hitting the ground without warning. And if lightning is not so terrible for trees, then for people and buildings they pose a serious threat. This is why scientists from the Universities of Arizona and Florida decided to try to redirect lightning using lasers.
Experiments on the effect of lasers on the weather have already been carried out before. It was even possible to control lightning to a limited extent in laboratory conditions. However, one of the main problems remained the inability of lasers to travel long distances through the air - to where the lightning originates. The fact is that high-intensity lasers lose their energy very quickly.
Researchers have managed to solve this problem using new technology. Instead of a single laser beam, they used two beams: one "wrapped" in the other. While the first beam consisted of flashes for only a billionth of a second, the second beam had a long and constant spectrum. Thus, the external laser energized the internal one. This led to the creation of a very fast and powerful laser beam that does not fade over long distances. So far, in laboratory conditions, it has been possible to create double laser beams with a length of only a few meters. Field trials over long distances are yet to come.
Plain and double layer laser beams
According to scientists, a similar technology can be used to control lightning. Laser beams flying up to the very base of the lightning will generate ionized molecules that will become the path for the lightning to land. So, any lightning can be directed to a place that is safe for people and buildings. This sounds good in theory, but the researchers still have a lot of work to do to make it come true.