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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora