Does NASA produce man-made hurricanes?

We came across a post on X that claims there are barges in the ocean containing weather modification equipment releasing cloud-seeding materials into the Gulf Stream and supposedly creating man-made hurricanes. The post contains a short video clip with the caption “Man made hurricanes, weather manipulation, NASA produces” insinuating that NASA is manipulating the weather and creating hurricanes.

The video shows what looks like a machine creating a cloud. The host in the video states that the cloud is created using water vapour and will produce rain in about an hour’s time. The video ends with the host stating that “NASA is playing God”.


Is NASA manipulating the weather?

A reverse image search of the video clip led us to a YouTube channel containing the same video which was apparently taken from a television show in the UK called Top Gear UK.

We then located the original video, which was published on 29 October 2010 on Top Gear’s YouTube channel. The longer video shows and explains how NASA tests its space shuttle engines in Mississippi, USA.

During the engine test,  water vapour clouds are created, which subsequently produce rain. While the host might have exclaimed that NASA is playing God and making its own weather, possibly in awe of the results of the engine test, the test is not intended to manipulate the weather. The rain is merely a side effect of the test.

Moreover, there was no mention of ocean barges – large vessels mainly used to transport cargo – or cloud seeding – a type of weather modification to improve a cloud’s ability to produce rain – in the video. There was no evidence that NASA was using weather modification machines to release cloud-seeding materials into the Gulf Stream. Additionally, there was also no evidence that NASA could produce a hurricane which is a tropical storm, usually with high wind speeds.

Recycled misinformation

In our process of identifying the original video, we came across fact-checks from 2018 and 2022 related to varying false claims surrounding the same video.

Although these fact-checks debunked the claims that NASA created machines that generate artificial clouds or manipulate the weather, the same video is still being circulated albeit with a slightly different spin.

In the present context, the misinformation spreaders might be leveraging the attention that tropical storm Hilary– that hit parts of the US – has recently gained to push their narratives about NASA manipulating the weather to create man-made hurricanes.

Therefore, we should always try to verify information that we come across on social media before circulating it. The present claim that NASA produces man-made hurricanes is false.

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