News / Science & Technology

HAARP Scientists Push for Funding for Facility in Alaska

Antennas for the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program [HAARP] - a high-energy radio physics project - are seen near Gakona, Alaska.
Antennas for the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program [HAARP] - a high-energy radio physics project - are seen near Gakona, Alaska.
George Putic
One of the most wide-spread conspiracy theories of recent years has concerned a radio-frequency facility in a remote part of Alaska, started by the military in 1993 and known by its acronym HAARP. Critics allege the government was trying to control the weather or even people’s minds. Scientists who worked there say the fears are completely unfounded, though, and they now are fighting to preserve the project from being shut down.

The late inventor Nikola Tesla, whose ideas and designs contributed to our modern electricity supply system, claimed it is possible to send power through the air.

Dennis Papadopoulos, a Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Maryland, said Tesla was a genius.

“He had a lot of wonderful ideas. About 10 percent were great and the 90 percent ended up being crack-pottish,” said Papadopoulos.

Sure, we can send some power through the air, that is how we listen to the radio, watch TV and talk through mobile phones, but radio waves deteriorate with distance, and even more so when they pass through water. That is one of the reasons the U.S. military began the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, or HAARP.

The 12-hectare facility has rows of towering antennas, 180 in all, each with a transmitter. Together, they can send up to 3.6 million watts into the ionosphere, the electrically conductive part of the upper atmosphere that can 'bounce' radio signals back to earth.

Papadopoulos, who was involved in the research at the Alaska facility, said one of the military's major interest at the time the project's conception was communication with submarines on patrol.

“To communicate with submarines, you have to have very low frequencies, which means wavelengths which are a thousand kilometers or larger. To create those with ground stations, you have to have installations that were half the [size of the] state of Wisconsin,” he said.

He said the idea was to turn the ionosphere into a giant antenna to transmit signals underwater.

The United States also was concerned with the possibility of a nuclear bomb blast in the atmosphere increasing the density of electrons in the radiation belt and disabling all its satellites.

Papadopoulos said so little was known about the ionosphere that each new experiment led to new discoveries.

“We discovered for the first time that we could create our own little ionosphere, namely we can increase the density of electrons and create patches, which we could use as reflectors of any frequency we want, so we can really guide even gigaherz waves around,” he said.

But controlling the weather? Or causing earthquakes? The idea that an individual project could have an effect greater than the polar vortex, the energy of the sun or even the total sum of human interactions with nature is rather difficult to believe, said George Washington University Space Policy Institute Director Scott Pace.

“There are a lot of conspiracy theories because people tend to believe that somewhere, someone, some human is in control. The actual answer is that things are much more chaotic and much more not subject to our control," he said.  "Mother Nature does not care and trying to understand what is going on with nature is much broader and bigger than any individual project.”

Scientific advances and shrinking budgets caused the U.S. military to propose closing the facility this year. Papadopoulos said the international scientific community would like to keep HAARP open, and offers to contribute to its $5 million annual budget have come from Canada, Britain and Taiwan.

Congress is expected to decide soon whether to accept that help.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid