Hacking the Planet

(The Weather Channel – 6x30 – 2013)

Can Geo-Engineering Save the World?

A new (6x30) series for The Weather Channel that probes how science is manipulating Mother Nature In collaboration with John Rennie, longtime editor-in-chief of Scientific American.

Deflecting hurricanes. Stopping rain. Channeling lightning. Outsmarting earthquakes and cooling the planet. These are no longer jobs only for Superman. They are just a few of the powers today's geo-engineers are working to put in the hands of mankind. And they're much closer than you might think. Mother Nature may still have the upper hand... but not for long. Did you know:

  • In 2008, Chinese soldiers prevented rain from disrupting the Olympics by firing thousands of chemical-filled rockets into the clouds over Beijing.
  • A European scientist has figured out how to use lasers to draw lightning to specific places in the sky. Now, the American military is studying ways to use the technology to create a lightning weapon. Imagine being able to channel lightning to zap the enemy – sounds like something out of an ancient Greek myth!
  • In 2009, a company backed by Bill Gates hatched a plan to divert hurricanes by dropping large tubs into the sea in the path of an oncoming storm. They will cycle cold water from the ocean's depths to the surface, and send the warm water that generates hurricane forces down to the depths.

Hacking the Planet is a new series that tracks the work of scientists who are leveling the playing field between man and Mother Nature. We are no longer just powerless pawns living at her mercy. Soon, geo-engineers may be able to control the weather as effortlessly as you control your central air. Each episode of the series utilizes immersive field experiments and eye-popping CGI animation to look at:

  • The idea behind the planetary "hack" – what it is seeking to prevent or preserve.
  • The people who are trying to do it – and why.
  • How the hack would work – as demonstrated through experiments in the lab and/or the field.
  • The benefits and risks involved with attempting the "hack." Will it save mankind or destroy the planet?
  • The current state of progress and the prospects for world-altering success.

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