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Project Quartz by Steve Payne based on a scenario by Sascha Pohflepp

Author says: what if the United States had become the most energy-rich nation on the planet? muses Sascha Pohflepp. Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).

In 1983, after observing the creation of a geo-engineered cloud, the 39th President of the United States James Earl Carter announced that the next stage in Project QUARTZ would be the official re-generation of the "Thunder" State of Nevada into a weather experimentation-zone.

The event was a further setback for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) whose past achievements had been eclipsed by the success of the Golden Institute for Energy.

Because ever since he had defeated his Republican opponent Ronald Reagan in the 1981 presidential election, Carter had poured money and resources into geo-engineering rather than into space programs. Based in Colarado, the Institute was equipped with virtually unlimited funding to make the United States the most energy-rich nation on the planet, its scientific and technical advancements were rapid and often groundbreaking.

Of course the accelerated change of priorities during his second term was of little surprise to shrewd observers of the "Georgia Giant". Because just six months after the completion of the eleventh manned mission to the moon, the 1973 energy crisis forced the United States to evaluate alternative sources of power. Once in office, Carter had created the United States Department of Energy and vigourously set about pursuing his environmentally-friendly policy. And so Apollo 17 became the final moon landing.

To be truthful Carter himself might well have been derailed by foreign policy crisis, but he was extremely fortunate to have just pulled off Operation Credible Sport a second rescue attempt using modified Lockheed C-130 Hercules to airlift the Iranian hostages.

Had that mission failed, then surely Reagan would never have authorised domestic experiments like the conversion of Nevada into giant lightning-field. Neither would scientists have been given the funding to develop delivery systems for the high altitude release of silver iodide-filled balloons. The result of those early experiments was the very tall lightning conductors in the Nevada desert which were discharging electricity up to the magnitude of 774 mega-joules and being harnessed and made available to consumers. Because under a Reagan Presidency, money and resources might very well been wasted on cowboyish military adventures in the Middle East.

And so instead of fighting over the world's oil supplies, by the time Carter left office, the city of Las Vegas had enthusiastically embraced the new weather system. Lightning rod-trailer parks known as "Lightning Bingo" were being set up by people hoping to make a fortune through electricity to power the latest generation of automobiles now driving across Nevada.

Author says to view guest historian's comments on this post please visit the Sacha's Blog and the Today in Alternate History web site.

Sascha Pohflepp, Guest Historian of Today in Alternate History web site.

Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.


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