China Fired Rockets to Stop Olympic Rain

No doubt, the Beijing Olympics were full of one surprise after another. Here’s one final step to seal the package: The nation used “weather modification technology” to try to keep rain away for the ceremonies, a Chinese news agency is reporting.

Government scientists apparently fired nearly 250 rockets full of a “rain dispersal” chemical into the clouds prior to Sunday’s closing event. They used a combination of planes and ground-based launching devices to do the deed, according to Xinhua News.

It wasn’t just this weekend, either: A government official told Xinhua they did the same thing on opening night, using a full 1,000 rockets that time.

So did they actually make a difference? Hard to say. China spends $40 million a year on weather-making technology like this, some of which is believed to create rain as well. It’s also been tested in Russia, Australia, and the United States — though the U.S. government has stopped most of its federal funding for the research. While some swear the technology works, many scientists say there just isn’t enough evidence to demonstrate it has a reliable effect.