When the tiny nation of Qatar, beat out the USA, Australia, Japan and South Korea, as the venue for the 2022 World Cup Soccer, there were gasps of surprise from the fans - And it was not just because of the size of the competitors, but also the fact, that the World Cup is held in June and July, which happen to be Qatar's hottest months, when temperatures can soar to 50°C (122° F).
Since the World Cup cannot be moved to the 'cooler' season in January or to a neighboring country with milder weather, Qatar has to figure out a solution to make the games more comfortable for both players and fans.
While country officials have promised to alleviate some of the issues with solar-powered stadiums capable of reducing the temperatures inside, to a comfortable 20°C (68°F), there is still concern of how the players will be able to function in the practice fields.
Now, some scientists from Qatar University's mechanical and industrial engineering department may have come up with an innovative solution - Creating remote-controlled man-made clouds, that will provide shade from the scorching heat.
The team led by Dr. Saud Abdul Ghani plan to manufacture the clouds from light carbon materials inside which will be housed a giant envelope filled with helium gas. The remote-controlled engine to move the clouds around, will be powered by solar panels, placed on the cloud's top surface.
Dr. Ghani estimates the initial clouds to cost about $500,000 USD each, but says that as they are deployed in larger quantities, the price could go down. However, since Qatar needs to find a solution, the money is probably not the issue - The bigger question is, will this team of scientists actually be able to conjure up something this radical? We will all find out in about eleven years!
Resources: Gizmag.com, gulfnews.com