The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) is an ionospheric research program jointly funded by the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy, the University of Alaska, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Designed and built by BAE Advanced Technologies (BAEAT), its purpose is to analyze the ionosphere and investigate the potential for developing ionospheric enhancement technology for radio communications and surveillance. The HAARP program operates a major sub-arctic facility, named the HAARP Research Station, on an Air Force–owned site near Gakona, Alaska.
The most prominent instrument at the HAARP Station is the Ionospheric Research Instrument (IRI), a high-power radio frequency transmitter facility operating in the high frequency (HF) band. The IRI is used to temporarily excite a limited area of the Ionosphere. Other instruments, such as a VHF and a UHF radar, a fluxgate magnetometer, a digisonde (an ionospheric sounding device), and an induction magnetometer, are used to study the physical processes that occur in the excited region.
Work on the HAARP Station began in 1993. The current working IRI was completed in 2007, and its prime contractor was BAE Systems Advanced Technologies. As of 2008, HAARP had incurred around $250 million in tax-funded construction and operating costs. It was reported to be temporarily shut down in May 2013, awaiting a change of contractors.
As of May 2014, it has been announced that the HAARP program will be shut down later in the year.
HAARP is a target of conspiracy theorists, who claim that it is capable of modifying weather, disabling satellites and exerting mind control over people, and that it is being used as a weapon against terrorists. Such theorists have blamed the program for causing earthquakes, droughts, storms and floods, diseases such as Gulf War Syndrome and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800, and the 2003 destruction of the space shuttle Columbia. Commentators and scientists say that proponents of these theories are "uninformed", as most theories put forward fall well outside the abilities of the facility and often outside the scope of natural science.
The HAARP program began in 1990. A U.S. senator from Alaska, Republican Ted Stevens, helped win approval for the facility, whose construction began in 1993.
In early May 2013, HAARP was temporarily shut down, awaiting a change between contractors who operated the facility. In July 2013, HAARP program manager James Keeney said, "Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is expected on site as a client to finish up some research in fall 2013 and winter 2014." The temporary shutdown was described as being due to "a contractor regime change." Ahtna, Incorporated, the Alaska Native corporation serving the region of Alaska where the HAARP site is located, was reportedly in talks to take over the facility administration contract from Marsh Creek, LLC.
In May 2014, the Air Force announced that the HAARP program would be shut down later in 2014. While experiments ended in the summer of 2014, the complete shutdown and dismantling of the facility was postponed until at least May 2015.
In mid-August 2015 control of the facility and its equipment was given to the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The University plan to make the facilities available for researchers on a pay-per-use basis.
HAARP is the subject of numerous conspiracy theories. Various individuals have speculated about hidden motives and capabilities of the project. For example, Rosalie Bertell warned in 1996 about the deployment of HAARP as a military weapon. Michel Chossudovsky stated in a book published by the Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform that "recent scientific evidence suggests that HAARP is fully operational and has the ability of triggering floods, droughts, hurricanes and earthquakes."
Over time, HAARP has been blamed for triggering catastrophes such as floods, droughts, hurricanes, thunderstorms, earthquakes in Iran, Pakistan, Haiti, Turkey, Greece and the Philippines, major power outages, the downing of TWA Flight 800, Gulf War syndrome, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Allegations include the following:
The European Parliament and the Alaska state legislature held hearings about HAARP, the former citing "environmental concerns".
Nick Begich Jr., the son of former U.S. Representative Nick Begich and brother of U.S. Senator Mark Begich, author of Angels Don't Play This HAARP, has claimed that HAARP could trigger earthquakes and turn the upper atmosphere into a giant lens so that "the sky would literally appear to burn", and maintains a website that claims HAARP is a mind control device.
Former Governor of Minnesota and noted conspiracy theorist Jesse Ventura questioned whether the government is using the site to manipulate the weather or to bombard people with mind-controlling radio waves. An Air Force spokeswoman said Ventura made an official request to visit the research station but was rejected - "he and his crew showed up at HAARP anyway and were denied access".
Physicist Bernard Eastlund claimed that HAARP includes technology based on his own patents that has the capability to modify weather and neutralize satellites.
It has been proposed as a cause of low frequency background hums said to be heard in various locales.
Computer scientist David Naiditch characterizes HAARP as "a magnet for conspiracy theorists", saying that HAARP attracts their attention because "its purpose seems deeply mysterious to the scientifically uninformed".
Journalist Sharon Weinberger called HAARP "the Moby Dick of conspiracy theories" and said the popularity of conspiracy theories often overshadows the benefits HAARP may provide to the scientific community.
Austin Baird writing in the Alaska Dispatch said, "What makes HAARP susceptible to conspiracy criticism is simple. The facility doesn't open its doors in the same way as other federally-funded research facilities around the country, and it doesn't go to great efforts to explain the importance of its research to the public."
In August 2016, in response to these claims, the facility announced it would have an open day, allowing visitors to tour the complex.
HAARP's main goal is basic science research of the uppermost portion of the atmosphere, termed the ionosphere. Essentially a transition between the atmosphere and the magnetosphere, the ionosphere is where the atmosphere is thin enough that the sun's X-rays and UV rays can reach it, but thick enough that there are still enough molecules present to absorb those rays. Consequently, the ionosphere consists of a rapid increase in density of free electrons, beginning at ~70 km, reaching a peak at ~300 km, and then falling off again as the atmosphere disappears entirely by ~1,000 km. Various aspects of HAARP can study all of the main layers of the ionosphere.
The profile of the ionosphere is highly variable, changing constantly on timescales of minutes, hours, days, seasons, and years. This profile becomes even more complex near Earth's magnetic poles, where the nearly vertical alignment and intensity of earth's magnetic field can cause physical effects like aurorae.
The ionosphere is traditionally very difficult to measure. Balloons cannot reach it because the air is too thin, but satellites cannot orbit there because the air is still too thick. Hence, most experiments on the ionosphere give only small pieces of information. HAARP approaches the study of the ionosphere by following in the footsteps of an ionospheric heater called EISCAT near TromsŅ, Norway. There, scientists pioneered exploration of the ionosphere by perturbing it with radio waves in the 2–10 MHz range, and studying how the ionosphere reacts. HAARP performs the same functions but with more power and a more flexible and agile HF beam.
Some of the main scientific findings from HAARP include: Read more ...
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