Researchers from the University of Geneva positioned a giant laser on a mountaintop on July 12 to serve as a lightning rod. Jean-Pierre Wolf, a Swiss physicist who has been working with lasers for over 20 years and the study’s lead researcher, has shown interest in regulating lightning with laser. It shoots about 1,000 times per second and a no-fly zone within the laser’s five-kilometer radius will be declared once it is active. Lasers do not harm aircraft, but they can damage the human eyes, so the researchers will only activate the laser if an increase in lightning activity is detected.

According to Wolf, the laser was disassembled and transported to the mountaintop via cable cars and helicopters. His team used 18 tons of concrete blocks to anchor the laser array on its base and stabilize its structure. The assembly took two weeks and is now ready for assessment. The test will run until September 2021, and if it is successful, the next experiment will take place at an airport.