The HAARP military research program in central Alaska has been a darling of conspiracy theorists for over a decade, claiming it does everything from control the weather to controlling people’s minds. Former Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez even claimed the US military used HAARP to cause the 2010 Haiti earthquake!
H.A.A.R.P. stands for High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program.
It was designed by the US military to study the Earth’s ionosphere, the upper-most portion of our atmosphere that stretches from about 53 miles (85 km) above the earth to around 370 miles (600 km). It’s a high-energy layer at the very edge of outer space, filled with charged particles. These particles respond to radio waves, so HAARP beams high-power radio frequencies straight up into the Alaska sky.
HAARP was built in 1993 at a cost of more than $290 million, earmarked by the late Senator Ted Stevens, a powerful Republican from Alaska. The program has been run over the years by the US Air Force Research Lab, Office of Naval Research, and the secretive Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
HAARP’s public mission is to study the ionosphere’s physics, which is bombarded by our sun on a daily basis. Huge solar flares send charged particles racing toward Earth, disrupting communications and often our country’s electric grid. By studying the ionosphere, scientists feel they might be able to mitigate these problems in the future.
Science aside, the HAARP site certainly looks futuristic, peppered with 180 weird-looking, geometrically aligned, cross-shaped antennas, poking into the Alaska sky like alien hardware. And like the infamous Area 51 in Nevada, it’s located in a remote military compound in the south Alaskan wilderness southeast of Fairbanks.
For those of you who might want to check it out, HAARP is located near Gakona, Alaska at GPS coordinates 62.39 N, 145.15 W off the Tok Cutoff Highway. Its crown jewel is the massive high-power, high-frequency array known as the Ionospheric Research Instrument (IRI). The IRI went on line in 2007 and can actually agitate a chunk of our ionosphere for research purposes.
HAARP is so powerful, it can create an artificial aurora borealis in the Alaskan night sky.
The IRI consists of 180 dipole antennas in a 15 x 12 grid covering multiple acres. Together they can transmit 3600 kW of radio waves at frequencies up to 10 mHz. This energy is absorbed by the ionosphere and produces atmospheric fluctuations that can be detected back on earth by HAARPs instruments below.
The U.S. military was interested because our ionosphere plays a key role in transmitting radio signals, so can be used to improve satellite communications. And, yes, the Department of Defense (DOD) has used it to study things they still will not fully disclose. For example, HAARP can turn the ionosphere into a giant antenna used to transmit signals strong enough to reach nuclear submarines underwater.
Not surprisingly, HAARP’s remote location and ability to manipulate the upper atmosphere has made it a favorite of various conspiracy theorists. The fringe nature of HAARP’s research doesn’t help. When scientists do talk about the experiments, nobody but a trained physicist can fully understand the complexity.
Conspiracy theorists think HAARP’s purpose is far more sinister than what the military stated.
Former Minnesota Governor and ex-pro wrestler Jess Ventura believes the government uses the IRI site to both manipulate the weather and control minds. Others have blamed it for everything from superheating the atmosphere causing climate change, to the mysterious humming associated with alien encounters. They say HAARP was to blame for the downing of TWA Flight 800 in 1996 and Japan’s 2011 tsunami. The Russian military supposedly believed it has the power to jam global communications and even reverse the polarity of the earth’s poles!
HAARP, its military research, and its many conspiracies almost came to an end. In 2013, the site shut down, was abandoned and temporarily locked its gates. The Air Force said Congress no longer wanted to pay the millions of dollars needed to staff and keep HAARP alive, and was prepared to dismantle it.
But fear not, HAARP lives on! Operation of the research facility was transferred from the US Air Force to the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2015. It allows HAARP to continue its scientific exploration of ionospheric phenomenon via a cooperative Research & Development agreement with the Air Force.
Recently, HAARP and the University actually held an Open House, free to the general public! The facility offered bus rides from Fairbanks, was open for walking tours, and had research results on display. Just to show how far it’s come, souvenir HAARP T-shirts and even shot glasses were on sale, as well as hamburgers and hot dogs to help fund continued research.
But I am quite sure conspiracy theorists, somewhere in their darkened basements, think this is nothing but a cover-up, a clever ruse and flood social media with their theories. They believe the US military continues HAARP’s more nefarious purposes to this day, behind thick steel doors, deep underground in the frozen and remote Alaskan wilderness. In 2016, two Georgia men arrested on drug charges were supposedly plotting an act of domestic terrorism based on HAARP conspiracy theories.
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