It has been tried twice before, and now a team succeeded in guiding lightning by a laser beam
. Their paper is still warm:nature photonics
Did you notice too? Researchers who bring progress write papers easier to read.
An old controversy (is it already decided?) is whether cosmic rays
provide ionized paths in the atmosphere to guide lightning. They're abundant enough and explain the succession of straight segments in a discharge channel. X-rays have been observed near lightning impacts, and events of energy >>1MeV even.
Up to very few MeV, the strong electric field preceding the propagation of the discharge channel can explain the acceleration of lucky electrons that excite the detectors, if needed as X-rays. It was well modeled and observed beforewikipedia
I was second and put it with my words therescienceforums
But 100MeV electrons were observed too, which I feel difficult to explain by the "Runaway breakdown" model. Competing possibility: detectors see directly the (secondary shower of) cosmic rays that create the lowest segment of the discharge channel.
Donovan Ready, aka Sapo, proposed to guide lightning by a laser and observe if 100MeV particles appear near the impact point thenscienceforums
Since the team that made the recent research plans more experiments, maybe they could install the corresponding detectors
next time? They measured up to 1MeV presently.
After a series of unlucky events, I suppose weapons exist already that guide lightning, but they operate from the top.