Firing a laser into the sky can redirect lightning’s path

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A laser fired from a tower on a mountain seems to have redirected lightning in the sky and could be used to make storm clouds discharge lightning safely



Physics



22 July 2022

Lightning bolts over the Las Vegas skyline

A thunderstorm over Las Vegas, Nevada

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

A laser that redirects lightning could be used to protect critical buildings during storms.

When an electric charge builds up in clouds, lightning can either propagate downwards, from clouds to the ground, or upwards from tall objects towards the clouds. Regardless of the lightning’s direction of travel, conductors such as metal rods are generally used to redirect the electric current away from vulnerable targets and into the ground.

Efforts to control lightning have involved firing rockets with wires attached into clouds to force them …



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