11 years from now, the tiny, oil rich nation of Qatar on the Arabian peninsula may be cooling the crowds expected for its hosting of the 2022 World Cup with artificial clouds! In a place where July temperatures soar to an average 115 degrees and sear with relentless sunlight, this is a bigger deal than you may think.
Head of the mechanical and industrial engineering department at Qatar University, Saud Abdul Ghani, and his team have devised a way that remotely controlled, helium-filled “clouds” (sort of gigantic, flat blimps with fans on them) could be set up to hover like great big helicopters over Qatar’s World Cup stadiums during peak times of oppressive summer sunshine. Like giant shields, they would be moved over the course of the day to continue blocking out the sun and take maximum advantage of the solar power benefits of their positioning. While utilizing the sun’s energy should cut down on the cost of powering such behemoth sky platforms, the artificial clouds themselves would be produced with a price tag of about $500,000 each. The BBC gives us an idea of what the artificial clouds would look like when implemented over the 2022 World Cup in Qatar:
Another option would be to move the the World Cup to the less grueling winter season, but FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) president Sepp Blatter is confident that the games will go on in summer, as intended. This is disputed by FIFPro (Federation Internationale des Associations de Footballeurs Professionnels), the union of professionals who actually play in the World Cup and currently favor moving the 2022 World Cup to winter.
Who knows? 11 years is a long time away, and by then the kids now growing up who will play in the World Cup 2022 games may be irradiated mutants with superpowers who won’t be bothered by a little extra warmth from some big, orange ball of fire in the sky. Or maybe they’ll be gilled fish-people playing in underwater stadiums, sheltered along with their chum-gobbling spectators by monstrous coral reefs and trained manta rays.