“PLAYING” WITH PLASMAS
I have to blog about this story shared by V.T., because having written a book about the weaponization of plasmas (The Cosmic War: Interplanetary Warfare, Modern Physics, and Ancient Texts), this story will interest those of you who have been tracking such things, and those of you awaiting the printing of the most recent works on the subject (The Giza Death Star Revisited and The Demon in the Ekur: Angels, Demons, Plasmas, Patristics, and Pyramids). To be truthful, the article isn't about a concept that's all that new. What's interesting is that the concept, while somewhat old as black projects science goes, is now at least being admitted openly:
The gist of the concept is very simple: in an electrically unstable environment, say, in a thunderstorm with strong electrical dipoles (that is to say, in plasma conditions), simply create a channel for electrical arcing (lightning bolts) by using a laser to heat a channel for the lightning strike:
A bit like Zeus flinging thunderbolts, physicists working on a mountaintop in Switzerland have used a high-powered laser to steer lightning. The advance could open the way to use lasers to protect airports, rocket launchpads, and other sensitive infrastructure, researchers say. Still, it remains unclear whether the million-dollar technology works any better than a relatively cheap lightning rod.
“It is inspiring,” says Matteo Clerici, a physicist at the University of Glasgow who was not involved in the work. “What will be the application of this? We can only speculate.”
Lightning occurs when static electricity builds up in storm clouds and begins to break down the surrounding air molecules. Paths of electrically weakened air spread like cracks in a car windshield. Once one such path reaches something on the ground or connects with other paths climbing from the surface, 30,000 amps of current gush through the jagged channel in a massive discharge that can blast a hole in a building and set it ablaze.
The tower got hit at least 15 times during that period, including four times when the laser system was running. The researchers studied the strikes both with radio antennas flanking the mountain, which traced the lightning’s path, and with high-speed cameras. In all four lightning strikes taken with the laser on, the lightning followed the path of the laser beam before jumping to the tower, the 28-member team reports today in Nature Photonics. Thus, researchers steered about the last 50 meters of each bolt’s otherwise random trajectory.
The researchers succeeded where others hadn’t in part because their laser fired 1000 times per second, rather than 10 or fewer, Houard says. The rapid-fire pulses kept a stable conductive channel open even in the swirling atmosphere, he speculates. The other big difference? “We choose a specific location where the lightning is always hitting the same point,” he says.
Houard says his team has discussed building a system to help protect Ariane rockets on the launchpad at Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana. The rockets are, of course, named after the Greek goddess Ariadne, princess of Crete and granddaughter of Zeus. What could be more fitting?
Uh huh: we're spending all this money to be able to protect rockets on the launching pad from lightning strikes.
In reality, as the article hints, the concept is not new, but was conceived almost as soon as the laser was invented (and if we're really being accurate about it, probably was conceived when the maser was invented). Now, if you're following the public version of the invention of such devices, that puts the emergence of the "steering lightning bolts with lasers/masers" concept around the late 1950s and early 1960s. However, as I pointed out in my book The Philosophers' Stone, one of the enduring mysteries of science is why it took so long to invent the laser. The science for them existed in the 1930s. In that book I speculated that, indeed, the hidden history and the public history are two different things, and that the hidden history probably has the Nazis inventing chemical lasers in the 1930s, and using them as in isotope enrichment processes. Laser isotope enrichment is the most sophisticated of all isotope enrichment processes, and it yields very pure isotope, and takes relatively few people to run the equipment. If one has the technological and engineering competence, it's the method of choice if you're seeking lots of pure isotope for a nuclear bomb.
Now wed that technology to the lightning-bolt-channel concept, and you get the idea: the idea of steering massive electrical arcing may not have waited until the invention of the laser. Indeed, if one carefully looks at the ideas of the Norwegian physicist Birkelund, or those of his contemporary Nikola Tesla, one can find similar ideas.
So the opening two sentence of the article are a bit disingenuous:
A bit like Zeus flinging thunderbolts, physicists working on a mountaintop in Switzerland have used a high-powered laser to steer lightning. The advance could open the way to use lasers to protect airports, rocket launchpads, and other sensitive infrastructure, researchers say.
Yes, such a technology could be used to protect airports, launchpads, and "other sensitive infrastructure." But in conjunction with other technologies like ionospheric heaters, such technology could equally be weaponized, and used as a horrifically powerful weapon...
...think of the Valle Marinaris, and Zeus', or Marduk's, thunderbolts, folks.
And now, after all the decades of research, the article is important because it's admitting that they've finally have actually done it.
See you on the flip side...
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