Lightning is a fearsome wonder. We hide under our covers at night and listen to thunderstorms. It can make you wonder whether or not we can harness this power for good. Certainly, mastering the art and science of producing lightning would be a great feat for mankind. Some people already believe that the government is capable of controlling the weather anyway.

Whatever your beliefs about what the authorities are capable of, you may wonder if you can try it for yourself.

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And just like the experiment with ants, lollipops, and a jar as a child, this technique, even on a micro scale, is sure to make one feel powerful. First, let’s start with a sobering fact.

Science behind lightning

About one hundred lightning bolts strike the earth each second, according to National Geographic. Yes, that’s right. Somewhere around the world, someone is probably worrying that one of those bolts will be directed towards them. And we all say that the fear is irrational, but when you look at the science, it’s still not improbable.

Scientists are bound to want to discover some uses for this energy. They are looking to redirect it is somehow with lasers. They would fire the laser into the electrical charge. This would give them some measure of control over the path it takes. Studies in the journal Science Advances details this process. The experiment has been successful. However, it really only changes the trajectory by a couple of centimeters. It’s a start, but science has not progressed all the way yet.

Laser beams make lightning tunnels

You might have an inquiring mind and wonder how people can create this prototype for controlling lightning. The lasers they use are more like super-lasers. Their chargers are the size of vehicles, to give you a peek into the enormity of power. They have to heat the air and ionize it in order to get ready to control the charge from the air.

Through this action, a path for the lightning to go through is procured. The electrons are now separated from particles in the air. A current of electricity is ready to charge right now, so to speak. With all the advances though, there are still some scientific hiccups. Scientists are not able to tell with certainty which clouds will create lightning. Without that foreknowledge, it is pretty difficult to be prepared to take action regarding the re-direction of the current.

We see lightning in the sky so we know it exists. But do any of us remember high school science classes? Well as a refresher, lightning is a form of energy.

It originates from charged particles, which can be electrons, positrons, ions, or protons that start to move around. The lightning cannot move through a vacuum. That’s why the uncharged air around the lightning serves to keep it in its place. With all the electrical forces swirling in lightning, people might wonder why we can’t just get some extra electricity from it to power the many modern electrical conveniences we need.

Well, for one, we wouldn’t get very much from one strike, even if we were able to capture it. It would only be 1,400 Wh of energy. Also, it is not as frequent in coming to earth. Only 25 percent of lightning actually strikes the ground. But aside from these drawbacks, we simply don’t have the technology in place to capture those bolts. We cannot build piling towers to get the lightning on every mile of ground around the world. It would simply be unfeasible.

The sun is a much more consistent, predictable source of energy that is much easier to harness through solar panels. So even though controlling lightning sounds attractive, it might only be feasible in order to prevent injuries to humans, buildings, and animals. It’s simply not worth trying to get those few bits of electricity out of it. Towers all over the place would be pretty ugly as well. It might eat up the real estate market quite considerably.

Who wants to live next to a lightning tower?

All in all, we can see that there are several perks to learning how to control the weather. And while these all involve protection, lightning can cause some pretty hefty damage. We don’t want to wander around afraid. However, we also don’t want large towers around us because they would be expensive and unnecessary eyesores. It is all about a perplexing situation.

  • Should we control where lightning falls on the ground by building towers everywhere?
  • Or should we just take our chances when we are roaming the street in a storm?

One solution is to pay attention to the weather and put lightning rods on homes and buildings. At least this will deliver the strike safely into the ground. Also, people should realize their chances of being hit are just like their chances of a shark attack in the ocean. We all have to take risks to do the things we need to, such as going to work and living life. And playing in the ocean

Now it’s time to hear from you.

  • Do you think that it is worth continuing to develop the technology to move lightning with lasers?
  • Do you believe that we will one-day discover how to predict which thunder clouds will hold lightning?
  • Or are you of the mindset that lightning is a wonder that will never fully be under the control of any human, so we may well just take cover in a storm?