As you might expect, some hurricane scientists are skeptical. Shock waves from a sonic boom would probably travel through the storm without slowing it, like trying to stop the wind with a tennis racket, says Hugh Willoughby, a hurricane researcher at Florida International University. He also thinks that the turbulence in the eyewall would rip apart a plane flying so fast. (Leonov contends that a jet traveling at more than 1,100 mph would have no trouble slicing through 100mph gusts but suggests that robot pilots could deal better with the 4-G forces exerted on the pilot during the maneuver.) Wen-Chau Lee, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, points out that hurricanes, like earthquakes, are the planet's way of releasing energy from one part of the world to another. "If you terminate or even diminish a hurricane, what would the Earth do with all that pent-up energy?" Lee says.