In 1993, construction began in Gakona, Alaska on a government research site known as HAARP. Government installations are rarely built alone, however, conspiracy theories are frequently constructed along with them. HAARP is no exception and has captured the imaginations of theorists around the globe, in spite of the project’s declassified status and the facility’s temporary abandonment during budget issues and government shutdowns.
What is HAARP?
HAARP is an acronym for High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program. The HAARP facility consists of 180 aluminum antennas, each 72 feet tall. These antennas are spaced exactly 80 feet apart, covering a total area of 40 acres. Its construction was a collaborative effort among the United States Air Force, the University of Alaska and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The purpose of this antenna system is to study the ionosphere, magnetosphere and the Van Allen belt.
Located about 50 miles above the Earth’s surface, the ionosphere is a part of the atmosphere where the sun’s ultra-violet rays strip gas molecules of electrons, changing the way the molecules behave. The magnetosphere also changes particle behavior, but here changes are the result of Earth’s magnetic field. Part of the magnetosphere, the Van Allen belt, is found 400 miles above Earth and contains high levels of radiation.
Why Study These Things?
The ionosphere and magnetosphere affect the way waves behave, interfering with radio communication and GPS tracking. The radiation of the Van Allen belt, meanwhile, is damaging to space satellites and shortens their lifespan. A better understanding of this radiation could lead to longer-lasting satellites. Scientists have also focused HAARP’s high frequency waves at the moon to determine its soil composition.
Of particular interest to the scientists at HAARP is the ability to use the atmosphere like an antenna, bending the signals along the curvature of the Earth. To do so, scientists pulse radio signals in a way that causes radiating auroral currents in the ionosphere to serve as an antenna. This may help improve radio communication with deeply submersed submarines.
Perhaps the most popular conspiracy theory surrounding HAARP is the assertion that the United States government uses the facility to control weather worldwide and that this control could be used as a weapon. HAARP has been accused of causing earthquakes, including Japan’s 8.9 magnitude quake in March of 2011 and the January 2010 incident in Haiti. Hurricanes are also blamed on HAARP, which supposedly had a very busy year in 2005 when hurricane Katrina struck and was followed by Rita and Wilma.
In reality, although the power emitted by the facility in Alaska is intense, it is not strong enough to change weather patterns in the 48 continental United States and beyond. In fact, the amount of power HAARP creates is less than that of a single lightning flash, according to Stanford professor Umran Inan, and there are 50 to 100 of those per second per day.
HAARP is also rumored to be some type of mind control device. Mind control theories have gained ground in part because the facility can create signals in the ELF frequency range. Signals of this frequency are similar to those found in the human brain and therefore dangerous, according to mind control theorists. In truth, these signals are not generated or transmitted by HAARP but are actually generated within the atmosphere 60 miles above Earth. The signals are so weak that special equipment must be used to detect them, and even then they are difficult to locate. ELF signals generated in this way are one million times weaker than necessary to create biological effects of any type.
Lesser Known Theories
HAARP has been accused of several other secret uses and disasters in addition to weather and mind control. Some believe HAARP is a weapon defense system used to stop enemy satellites and missiles. This theory often accompanies the belief the 2003 Columbia shuttle disaster was actually caused by HAARP, which was trying to shoot down a North Koran missile during the space shuttles reentry. Others claim that TWA Flight 800’s tragic demise occurred when a facility in Norway and HAARP were working together on a time travel experiment. Mass deaths of birds and fish have also been attributed to HAARP. None of these theories prove credible when more thoroughly investigated.
Although rumored to be a sophisticated secret weapon or climate control device, Alaska’s HAARP facility is simply a research center designed to provide a greater understanding of radio waves and the atmosphere. The installation simply lacks the capacity to generate a signal strong enough to knock missiles out of the sky or alter atmospheric conditions.