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Robo Cloud to Intercept Sun Over World Cup Qatar

Qatari scientists claim to have cracked the problem of shade for crowded stadiums during the 2022 World Cup: Artificial clouds. Really.

Robo Cloud to Intercept Sun Over World Cup Qatar
Qatar clouds

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Qatari scientists claim to have cracked the problem of shade for crowded stadiums during the 2022 World Cup: Artificial clouds.

Local temperatures can poke upward of 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 Celsius), and relentless summer sun would be a big barrier to enjoyment for the hundreds of thousands of football fans expected to attend in person. The games were originally going to be moved to winter months, but FIFA has since reconsidered (no doubt pondering the disruption this could cause in competing nations’ own football leagues). Air conditioning spaces for crowds, and practice arenas for the hundreds of players themselves, is a possibility of course, and will happen–but the environmental burden could be enormous, even with plans to use solar power to generate some of the energy needed by air conditioning units.

Hence, the idea by Qatari science teams to create huge artificial clouds and float them over venues to block direct sunlight. Essentially, the devices are massive dirigibles filled with helium, built of carbon fiber and super-light fabrics, and equipped with four solar-powered engines to move them into place and keep them stable even in changing winds. Each “cloud” would cost around $500,000, and unlike the Zeppelin-like blimps you’re thinking of, the clouds would be large, flat, inflated platforms designed to produce maximum shade.

Naturally, we speculate that the underside of these huge structures will find a secondary use in the extraordinarily ad-centric affair that is the World Cup. After all, Goodyear does a good job of advertising itself with its conventional blimp, and the flat-ish underside of the artificial cloud would be absolutely ideal for giant, projected adverts.

It all sounds incredible, though we can’t help but note we’d prefer it if Qatar used a happier sort of artificial cloud tech to perform the same trick:

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About the author

I'm covering the science/tech/generally-exciting-and-innovative beat for Fast Company. Follow me on Twitter, or Google+ and you'll hear tons of interesting stuff, I promise. I've also got a PhD, and worked in such roles as professional scientist and theater technician...thankfully avoiding jobs like bodyguard and chicken shed-cleaner (bonus points if you get that reference!)

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