Here's the plan: pick a cloud. Shoot a laser at it. Make it rain. Sound crazy? Maybe, but a group of scientists have some concrete evidence that it could be possible. Good thing, too, as lasers are a lot more environmentally friendly than the other methods being tried.
What do you get when you combine two of the most deadly weapons out there? No, not a machete duct taped to a nuke. You get the Navy's new gatling gun/laser hybrid.
You gotta hand it to all those crazy Iron Man fans. It seems like not a week goes by without some crafty fanatic showing some Tony Stark love with a wicked DIY project. Patrick Priebe's hand-worn 1,000 milliwatt laser is no different.
Despite our sci-fi dreams, laser cannons are still too bulky and inefficient to every be used on the regular by the military. But we may be getting closer to that laser-filled future.
It's more or less impossible for us puny humans to duplicate the raw epic power of a lightning bolt. They can travel at 140,000 mph (or about Mach 184 if you're counting), heat the surrounding air to three times the temperature of the surface of the sun, and transmit enough energy to toast approximately 100,000 slices of bread. To study a lightning bolt, you first have to capture it, and it turns out that the best way to do that is to fire rockets at thunderstorms. Yeah, it's probably best not to try this at home.
Well, this sucks. Out of the $664.5 billion 2012 defense budget, the Senate Armed Services Committee couldn't find enough money (or reasons) to continue funding the Navy's Free Electron Laser or ship-mounted railgun. I guess the "free" part didn't fool them.
Think you're a Star Trek fan? In 1996, Barbara "The Commander" Adams shocked a lot of people by showing up for jury duty in a full Next Generation uniform, complete with Tricorder and possibly a phaser (she would have to check the sidearm at the door). She was very boldly trying to live in Gene Roddenberry's vision of the 23rd and 24th centuries. The world of 2011 may not seem much closer to the world of Trek than 1996, but it's actually possible for the average person to enjoy some of the technology and indeed even the environment of Star Trek in every day life. While some of the future technology, like transporters, tractor beams and cloaking devices are still in the laboratory, below is a list of items available to the consumer to either buy or build.
The insignia on the side of Russia's Beriev A-60 shows a lightning bolt blasting what looks a lot like the Hubble Space Telescope. That's made more suspicious by the plane's megawatt laser turret hidden in the back that only points upward. Hubble doesn't seem like it would be much of a threat to anyone, but you do the math.
Wanna shoot lasers out of your eyeballs? We're getting close: scientists have finally done something useful for a change and stuck some glowing jellyfish genes into human cells and created living green biolasers.
We all know that the addition of lasers automatically makes anything look 100% more awesome, but scientists have figured out how to use them make musical instruments sound better too.