Sorry Internet, NASA Doesn't Have A Weather-Controlling Cloud Machine

Make no mistake, this is a real photograph, but it's not a cloud-making machine. KSC Unmanned Aerial Systems Team/NASA

Different conspiracy theories fall in and out of vogue just like fashion trends. The faked Moon landings are experiencing an all-time low, while flat-Earth theories are still riding high after a strong couple of years. After laying low for some time, the batshit idea that NASA is behind a sinister plot to control the weather is back and bigger than ever.

Over the past couple of weeks, numerous viral videos have popped up claiming to show an “artificial clouds generation system” by NASA that poofs out fluffy white clouds into the sky. The sky fills with fake clouds and eventually the heavens open, releasing a downpour of rain onto the TV presenter.

One of these videos has been shared over 400,000 times on Facebook, and there are plenty more copies of it lurking on Facebook and YouTube. While there is some sanity in the comments, many people are remarking that this shows that one of the government’s geoengineering projects is attempting to control the weather and your mind. Unsurprisingly, some of the videos feature a watermark mentioning “flat Earth”.

Make no mistake, what you see in the video is real. However, it’s an edited clip from an old episode of the BBC show Top Gear, featuring an RS-25 rocket engine test at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. 

The R2-25 rocket booster  the so-called “Clark Kent of Engines” – propels itself through burning liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. The by-product of this combustion is water vapor, along with a hell of a lot of noise. That stuff you are seeing is just super-hot steam (not too dissimilar from what you see coming out of your kettle) rising into the sky and condensing to form a cloud. So, the engine does actually produce clouds, but that's not its purpose.

Just for the record, it’s worth noting that the overwhelming majority of scientists reject the idea of a government weather control program and “chemtrail” conspiracy theories. One of the favorite scratching posts of conspiracy theorists is the HAARP research facility deep in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness. Over the years, this ionospheric research facility has attracted a bunch of flack, including false claims that it bombards people with mind-controlling radio waves. HAARP responded in 2016 by inviting the public to the facility for a free guided tour and a barbecue.

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