A “cloudy” forecast in Qatar

You could almost mistaken the following for an April Fool’s joke but it is, we are told, not “pie-in-the-sky” by any means.

In fact, it’s a cloud in the sky – an expensive artificial one. It has just been revealed that Qatar is working on “clouds” to block the Middle Eastern sun at the 2022 World Cup.

With June and July temperatures in the Gulf state capable of reaching as much as 120 degrees Fahrenheit, the Qataris have developed a number of innovations to keep players and spectators cool during matches.

One which scientists at Qatar University say they have come up with is a “cloud,” a lightweight carbon structure carrying a giant envelope of material containing helium gas. Four solar powered engines will move the structure via remote control.

Each of the clouds cost $500,000 to produce, although that’s chunk change for a wee nation that owns the third biggest reserves of gas on the planet.

A new idea? Fans of the Simpsons will remember the legendary two-part 1995 episode when nefarious power plant owner C. Montgomery Burns devised a plan to create a giant shield that would block the sun and keep Springfield in perpetual darkness.

With 11 years still to go before they host the big dance, it will be interesting to see what else the innovative and resourceful Qataris can come up with. Would you bet against them, for example, producing 11 artificial “players” good enough to win them the tournament?


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