Shooting clouds with lasers

Published May 28, 2020

Let’s say you have a satellite, you want to send a signal to Earth, but there’s a cloud in the way mucking up the connection. What do you do?

If your first thought was “Blast a hole through the cloud with a giant laser,” you win. That’s exactly what U.S. and Swiss researchers are testing.

Each of these fleeting pulses, occurring a few hundred times per second, beamed brighter than 10 trillion suns.

The laser turns the air to plasma, and as it cools is creates a sound wave that creates a hole through the cloud for a communications laser to use. Fun!

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