China and Russia try to control rain clouds and the Dutch use technology to keep low-lying inland areas from flooding, so why shouldn't the United States be able to manipulate lightning? In an attempt to better understand one of nature's most powerful processes, DARPA issued a broad agency announcement yesterday asking for ideas on how to best protect American personnel and resources from dangers and costs associated with lightning strikes. To wit:
Lightning causes more than $1B/year in direct damages to property in addition to the loss of lives, disruption of activities (for example, postponement of satellite launches) and their corresponding costs. A better understanding of the physics underlying lightning discharge, associated emissions, and related processes (for example, tribocharging in the clouds) may lead to revolutionary advances in the state of the art of lightning protection.
Specifically, DARPA seeks validated models on the natural lightning process, a means of triggering lightning within a storm intentionally, and strategies for protecting a given area from lightning strikes during a storm by somehow reducing the probability that lightning will strike there.
The call for proposals also asks various questions about manipulating lightning's natural unpredictability: "Given an area (size: 1 square kilometer) in the presence of a thunderstorm, is it possible to reduce the probability of a cloud to ground lightning strike in that area? How might lightning initiation be inhibited, or lightning propagation be diverted or blocked to achieve this goal? Is it possible to induce lightning in one region within the storm system, in order to suppress lightning in the region in need of protection?"
The call for proposals clearly seeks a means of protecting U.S. assets – think military and space installations that could do without a massive, circuit-frying electrical surge – from the often-devastating effects of a lightning strike.
Of course, the DARPA enthusiasts in us want to believe that the DoD is actually pursuing a lightning weapon that we can aim at our enemies' military installations. But one thing is made abundantly clear by this call for proposals: there's a lot about lightning we just don't know.
Tesla Tanks here we come...
Well if they are willing to consider and fund a space elavator then controlling lightning is not such a stretch for Darpa
C&C: Red Alert 2 here we come
I cant believe im writing this im not a 100% sure on the validity of this comment however a good friend of mine whos rank i shall keep anonymous has had access to U.S Top Secret information. During a long night and several drinks after he disclosed to me that the U.S. military has weapons under development that can cause target specific natural disaters storms tornado earthquake.
so now when our military calls for a "strike" it can have a duel meaning. Darpa you've done it again!!!
I think his "Top Secret" information came from the bottom of a bottle of vodka...
DARPA should go talk to the lighting test lab in Florida. They have been doing lighting manipluation test for over 5 years now. Also whomever wrote the article should get all the facts first.
They already do if you believe in conspiracies: HAARP up in Alaska. If you want some entertainment and some interesting discussion, I'd recommend watching Governor Jesse Ventura's television show called Conspiracy Theory on the HAARP project. This episode can be watched in full (several 10 minute parts) on YouTube. Here's part one: watch?v=uh2gbJA898s.
Whether you believe this project works or not it is without doubt that research is going on all over the world into this type of science.
Manipulating lightning is a great idea! If you had a big enough battery that could survive the jolt, one lightning strike could power your house for long time!
@Hbilly - great idea. renewable energy too!
Up on Mount Olympus Zeus is having a good laugh.
This project sounds more like mitigation of damage than control of power. I would think if they were trying to capture and harness the best method for capturing a large static charge would have to be a gigantic capacitor... larger than the ones that radio stations use to tune their frequency outputs in the old days. Then from there transfer the charge in a controlled manner to another means of storage. I would guess that the size a capacitor would have to be would be very cost prohibitive though. To give you an idea of the old capacitors for old radio stations the one I got to put my hands on was ten pounds or so.
The average peak power output of a single lightning stroke is about a terawatt (10^12 W)(The ^ symbol is us being used to show the use of an exponent.) and the stroke lasts for around 30 microseconds. (Wikipedia) not sure how valid anything at wiki is but I don't think this sort of info would be fooled with.
The other trick to harnessing the power I would think relates to the heat output of a strike. I do like how this article states The call for proposals also asks various questions about manipulating lightning’s natural unpredictability: “Is it possible to reduce the probability of a cloud to ground lightning strike in that area?"
I always thought that, or at least was taught that generally lightning left ground to cloud. Much like what you see with a Tesla coil. Not to say I am 100% on this I can only be as good as the source teachers that I learned from.
Your idea has been pondered before, but I don't know if anyone's taken to trying to actually get a working example due to the problems.
Lightning actually doesn't carry as much energy as we'd be inclined to think; at least in terms of harnessing it. A good lightning storm, though, could be of some use.
"According to Northeastern University physicists Stephen Reucroft and John Swain, a lightning bolt carries a few million joules of energy, enough to power a 100-watt bulb for 5.5 hours."
a great possible way to predict where lightning will strike is a real-time satellite tracking of the storm. instruments will measure the polarity of certain areas of the storm, and when the polarity difference is great enough in one area, a lightning bolt will strike that area.
but to redirect the lightning else where, we either need energy shields that are powered by lightning strikes, or an object whose polarity is great enough to draw a lightning strike from the cloud in a specific direction.
this object will need the opposite electrical charge of the storm to direct lightning strikes to it to keep it away from fragile components. lightning rods may work, but... they're electrically neutral.
If DARPA wants a devastating new electromagnetic weapon to use against "enemy nations" (as this well-written article hints at) they should really pour funds into CA's Solaren Corp. Space Solar Power project to beam down high-intensity microwaves from satellites to Earth for electricity, as described in David Kagan's book Sunstroke. Kagan spells out quite clearly in Sunstroke that such space solar power stations employing high-intensity microwave beams could also be used as a devastating multi-pronged weapon: it can supply electricity to the military, be used to fry enemy ground troops, aircraft, ocean-going vessels, and also be used to disrupt enemy communications as well as destroy their agricultural capabilities. And the US EPA agrees. But DARPA should hurry, because the Japanese are also developing space solar satellite capabilities.
This would be much better than tampering with Mother Nature's lightning strikes. BTW, thought all the US Neocons were out of power. Guess not.
@xlndr and @Hbilly
..The Earth is often referred to as a Huge Leaky
capacitor or condenser. -food for thought.
The technology to this has been around since the
days of Tesla.
If DARPA is asking for this, that means they already
have this technology perfected and are doing a sort
of litmus test to how privy the rest of the science
community [and "competition"]is to this idea.
Once you understand that that we live in an Electric Universe (not a "gravity universe") filled with
plasma and defined by Torsion Physics, --and that
our Weather is entirely electric in nature..
You will come to learn that to do what DARPA asks is
a matter so simple, *properly educated* High School
students would be displaying such technology at
science fares and the like.
I suggest you spend time at Thunderbolts.info and do a search on Plasma Physics Cosmology and to learn the
real way the universe works. plasmacosmology.net is a
good place for the layman to start.
(lightening is a highly charged plasma discharge)
Learn Torsion, Vortex and Implosion Physics to see how
it is all tied together.
To peak your curiosity as to these facts.., i ask you
one simple question:
How is it that we are taught that magnetic fields are
found coursing all throughout the universe and that the ones found around the stars & planets in our solar
system even interact with each other and yet, somehow,
no electrical current is ever induced?
WE KNOW, that were ever electrical current flows, a magnetic field is produced, and conversely, as seen in
the operation of the simple transformer powering your
PC's PSU, when to two magnetic fields interact, a
current is *induced* via magnetic induction..
Are we to assume that these magnetic fields have
manifested themselves from nothing, like we are told
the universe did in the big bang?
The world is simple, not complex, -once you know the
true nature of the Cosmos and the Universe we live in.
If a large charged celestial body passes
through the inner solar system that we
inhabit, as Venus did when it passed by Mars
and Earth not long ago, -when it was still
(the planetary magnetic fields will interact
and induce huge currents..)
This will upset the electrical balance of the solar
system and *induce* planetary sized plasma bolt
discharges, -essentially lightening, to jump
between any planets it close enough to.
In an Electric Universe this would be quite
obvious. In a Gravity Universe, it would not.
Perhaps DARPA is just looking for a
good place to stick a [rather large]
Electromagnetics Rule the Universe.
-get used to it.
We live in a Mirror Image world
of the true Realty.
Where Our Reality is Fantasy,
and Fantasy, is the true Reality.
"Man will harness the power of the heavens, allowing natures dynamo to provide us with endless energy. Lightning is free for anyone who can tame it". -Tesla
It's an interesting concept. However, some of us were raised to believe that only God himself could use lightning bolts to smite the sinners of this world.
I believe the good Lord has provided enough electricity for both man and sinner. When you think about it, the numbers even out. Say you have 4 people and 9 sinners, if you gain a sinner you subtract one from the people side. Except for new births and regular deaths, you would always have 13 in this scenario.
Soundwash makes my head hurt.
@ soundwash: I'm not sure I buy everything you say, but you should look up Io, Jupiter's large volcanic moon. Since Jupiter's magnetic field is so strong, there is a constant ~2 TeraWatt current flowing between Io and Jupiter's upper atmosphere. That's quite a lighting bolt!
I invented in 1967 a device that can: Zap all cell phones, computers, Tv's and Radios.
I also invited a lightning strike out of the blue Sky.
I tried to e-mail Darpa, that was supposed to be interested in such a device but their e-mail address did not work.
The device can be used to move the Jet Stream, control Tornadoes and Hurricanes but the snobs in power are not interested.
What I invented or discovered was the powering system of the Flying Saucer.
No, Nasa Propulsion Engineers were not interested, it would make them obsolete. Who would need them if we could fly to the Moon in an hour?
A Flying Saucer is not powered by oil, coal, gasoline or nuclear power. They "tap" energy right out of the aether, like Tesla (probably) did with his Pierce Arrow Car in 1931.
He did not dare to divulge how it worked, as he realized that the system could also be used to give any dwelling on earth, anywhere, anytime, all the electric power it needed.
The investors of the Niagara Falls Power Plant, Pierpont Morgan and Rockefeller would have had him killed, then and there.
He did not take a Patent out but I did.
Dr. Kahn of the Hudson Institute evaluated it at $600 Billion if the USA would have it before Russia.
My US Patent Lawyer predicted the Nobel Prize.
I am now working on a device to power cars and homes.
Slowly, I did not get the Nobel Prize.
I must be on the wrong planet.
First, Zeus shall laugh. Then, he shall strike the DARPA whitecoats down - with the thing that they are trying to parody.
Grr,Change your damn Picture,and PLLLEEEEAASSSEEE stop with religion already This is popsci not Religion weekly!!
Does this make anyone think of mother 3? All hail king P!