cientists in France have created a way to divert lightning strikes using a weather-controlling super laser.
Researchers with the Polytechnic Institute of Paris guided the strikes from thunderclouds to places where they don’t cause damage. The team says the new technique could save power stations, airports, launchpads, and other buildings from disaster.
The system creates a virtual lightning rod, metal conductors that intercept flashes and guide their currents into the ground.
“The findings extend the current understanding of laser physics in the atmosphere and may aid in the development of novel lightning protection strategies,” says corresponding author Dr. Aurelien Houard, according to a statement from SWNS.
The five-ton device is about the size of a large car and fires up to a thousand pulses per second. The scientists installed it near a telecommunications tower in the Swiss Alps – which is struck by lightning around 100 times a year.
“A powerful laser aimed at the sky can create a virtual lightning rod and divert the path of lightning strikes,” Dr. Houard tells SWNS. “The findings may pave the way for better lightning protection methods for critical infrastructure – such as power stations, airports and launchpads.”
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