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

Multimedia Baltimore 'Victory Rally' Follows Charges in Detainee Death

Saturday's rally is largest organized gathering since state's attonrey filed felony charges in police-custody death of Freddie Gray More

UN Denies Child Sex Abuse Cover Up in CAR

UNHCR says senior official suspected of leaking report suspended for breaching rules More

Nepal Officials Slammed Over Aid Response

VOA News has compiled from various organizations complaints from across Nepal of bottlenecks at customs, repeated harassing inspections of aid convoys and seizure of goods 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.
From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil Wari
X
Henry Ridgwell
May 03, 2015 1:12 AM
Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil War

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video Rural Nepal Suffers Brunt of Quake’s Devastation

Nepal is still coming to grips with the full extent of the devastation and misery caused by last Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Some of the hardest-hit communities have been cut off by landslides making it difficult to assess the precise toll. A VOA News crew has been among the first to reach a few of the smaller, remote communities. Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Sindhupolchak district, east of Kathmandu, which suffered greatly in Nepal’s worst quake in more than 80 years.
Video

Video Black Families Use Baltimore Case to Revisit 'Police Talk'

Following Freddie Gray’s death in police custody this month, VOA interviewed black families throughout the eastern U.S. city of Baltimore about how they discuss the case. Over and over, parents pointed to a crucial talk they say every black mother or father has with their children. Victoria Macchi has more on how this conversation is passed down through generations.
Video

Video Middle East Atheist Channel Defies Taboo

In Egypt, a deeply religious country in a deeply religious region, atheism is not only taboo, it is dangerous. It is sometimes even criminal to publicly declare nonbelief. Despite the danger, one group of activists is pushing back with a new online channel that defends the right not to believe. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Nepal Quake Survivors Tell Their Stories

Against all hope, rescuers have found a few more survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal last Saturday. Mountain climbers and hikers trapped in remote places also have been airlifted to safety, and aid is finally reaching people in the areas closest to the quake's epicenter. Survivors and rescuers are now recounting their experience. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Lessons for Germany, Europe Remain on Anniversary of WWII's End

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be marked May 8-9 in all European countries except Germany, which lost the war. How is the war viewed there, and what impact is it still having? From Berlin, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video 'Woman in Gold' Uses Artwork as Symbol of Cultural Identity

Simon Curtis’ legal drama, "Woman in Gold," is based on the true story of an American Jewish refugee from Austria who fights to reclaim a famous Gustav Klimt painting stolen from her family by the Nazis during World War II. It's a haunting film that speaks to the hearts of millions who have sought to reclaim their past, stripped from them 70 years ago. VOA's Penelope Poulou reports.
Video

Video Nepal Town Destroyed By Quake Counts Itself Lucky

Foreign search teams on Wednesday began reaching some of the communities outside Kathmandu that suffered worse damage than Nepal’s capital from last Saturday’s massive earthquake. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman is in Sankhu - a town of about 10,000 people - where there is relief the death toll is not higher despite widespread destruction.
Video

Video First Surgical Glue Approved for Use Inside Body

While medical adhesives are becoming more common, none had been approved for use inside the body until now. Earlier this year, the first ever biodegradable surgical glue won that approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on the innovation and its journey from academia to market.
Video

Video Somali Hotel Chain Owner Strives to Make a Difference

Many in the Somali diaspora are returning home to make a new life despite the continuing risks. Since 2011 when a military campaign against Al-Shabab militants began making progress, members of the diaspora community have come back to open hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Abdulaziz Billow in Mogadishu profiles the owner of a chain of hotels and restaurants who is helping to bring change to the once-deadly Somali capital.
Video

Video Study: One in Six Species Threatened with Extinction

Climate change is transforming the planet. Unless steps are taken to reduce global warming, scientists predict rising seas, stronger and more frequent storms, drought, fire and floods. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, a new study on species extinction underscores the need to take action to avoid the most catastrophic effects of rising temperatures.
Video

Video Taviani Brothers' 'Wondrous Boccaccio' Offers Tales of Love, Humor

The Italian duo of Paolo and Vittorio Taviani have been making movies for half a century: "The Night of the Shooting Stars," "Padre Padrone," "Good Morning, Babylon." Now in their 80s, the brothers have turned to one of the treasures of Italian culture for their latest film. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver reports.
Video

Video Child Migrants Cross Mediterranean Alone, Face Unknown Future

Among the thousands of migrants making the deadly journey by boat to Europe, there are unaccompanied girls and boys. Some have been sent by relatives to earn money; others are orphaned or fleeing war. From a shelter for young migrants in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Baltimore Riots Shed Light on City’s Troubled Past

National Guard troops took up positions Tuesday in Baltimore, Maryland, as authorities tried to restore order after rioting broke out a day earlier. It followed Monday's funeral of a 25-year-old black man who died while in police custody earlier this month. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Challenges Await Aid Organizations on the Ground in Nepal

A major earthquake rocked Nepal on Saturday and killed thousands, injured thousands more and sent countless Nepalese outside to live in makeshift tent villages. The challenges to Nepal are enormous, with some reconstruction estimates at around $5 billion. Aid workers from around the world face challenges getting into Nepal, which likely makes for a difficult recovery. Arash Arabasadi has the story from Washington.

Poll: Baltimore Police Charged

Poll archive

VOA Blogs