December 19, 2009



The HAARP project aims to direct a 3.6 MW signal, in the 2.8-10 MHz region of the HF band, into the ionosphere. The signal may be pulsed or continuous. Then, effects of the transmission and any recovery period will be examined using associated instrumentation, including VHF and UHF radars, HF receivers, and optical cameras. According to the HAARP team, this will advance the study of basic natural processes that occur in the ionosphere under the natural but much stronger influence of solar interaction, as well as how the natural ionosphere affects radio signals. This will enable scientists to develop techniques to mitigate these effects in order to improve the reliability and/or performance of communication and navigation systems, which would have a wide range of applications in both the civilian and military sectors.

The project is funded by the Office of Naval Research and jointly managed by the ONR and Air Force Research Laboratory, with the principal involvement of the University of Alaska. Many other universities and educational institutions have been involved in the development of the project and its instruments, namely the University of Alaska (Fairbanks), Stanford University, Penn State University (ARL), Boston College, UCLA, Clemson University, Dartmouth College, Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland, College Park, University of Massachusetts, MIT, Polytechnic Institute of New York University, and the University of Tulsa. The project's specifications were developed by the universities, which are continuing to play a major role in the design of future research efforts. There is both military and commercial interest in its outcome, as many communications and navigation systems depend on signals being reflected from the ionosphere or passing through the ionosphere to satellites. Thanks to the more penetrating properties of VLF and ELF, advancements in underwater and underground research and applications are now possible. This may lead to improved methods for submarine communication and the ability to remotely sense the mineral content of the terrestrial subsurface, among other things. In addition, an improved understanding the ionosphere's impact on satellite signals transmitted to Earth may increase the accuracy of GPS navigation, since those satellite signals are affected in an unknown way as they pass through the ionosphere.

The HAARP project offers annual open days to permit the general public to visit the facility, and makes a public virtue of openness; according to the team, "there are no classified documents pertaining to the HAARP." Each summer, the HAARP holds a summer-school for visiting students, including foreign nationals, giving them an opportunity to do research with one of the world's foremost research instruments.

HAARP controversy

Power emitted

The critics' views have been rejected by HAARP's defenders, who have pointed out that the amount of energy at the project's disposal is minuscule compared to the colossal energies dumped into the atmosphere by solar radiation and thunderstorms. A University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute scientist has compared the HAARP to an "immersion heater in the Yukon River."

Since the ionosphere is inherently a chaotically turbulent region, HAARP's defenders state any artificially induced changes would be "swept clean" within seconds or minutes at the most. Ionospheric heating experiments performed at the Arecibo Observatory's ionospheric heater and incoherent scatter radar have shown that after periods of modification (up to an hour), the ionosphere returns to normal within about the same period of time it had been heated.

Additionally, the ULF and ELF radio signals indirectly generated by HAARP ionospheric heating are millions of times weaker than naturally generated signals, such as radio atmospherics from lightning, and magnetospheric chorus waves, so they have no real impact on the radio wave environment on Earth.

Open activities

Furthermore, supporters of HAARP argue that its activities have been, since its establishment, extremely open. All activities are logged and publicly available. Scientists without security clearances, even foreign nationals, are routinely allowed on site. The HAARP facility regularly (once a year on most years according to the HAARP home page) hosts open houses, during which time any civilian may tour the entire facility.

In addition, scientific results obtained with HAARP are routinely published in major research journals (such as Geophysical Research Letters, or Journal of Geophysical Research), written both by university scientists (American and foreign) or by US Department of Defense research lab scientists.


The objectives of the HAARP project became the subject of controversy in the mid-1990s, following claims that the antennas could be used as a weapon. A small group of American physicists aired complaints in the non-peer-reviewed letters Physics and Society,[11] charging that the HAARP could be seeking ways to destroy or disable enemy spacecraft[citation needed] or disrupt communications over large portions of the planet. The physicist critics of the HAARP have had little complaint about the project's current stage, but have expressed fears that it could in the future be expanded into an experimental weapon, especially given that its funding comes from the Office of Naval Research and the Air Force Research Laboratory.[citation needed]

These concerns were amplified by Bernard Eastlund, a physicist who developed some of the concepts behind the HAARP in the 1980s and proposed using high-frequency radio waves to energize the ionosphere in order to disable incoming missiles, thus "knocking out" out enemy satellite communications. The US military became interested in the idea as an alternative to the laser-based Strategic Defense Initiative[dubious ]. However, Eastlund's ideas were eventually dropped as SDI itself mutated into the more limited National Missile Defense of today. The contractors selected to build HAARP have denied that any of Eastlund's patents were used in the development of the project.

After the physicists raised early concerns, the controversy was stoked by local activism. In September 1995, a book entitled Angels Don't Play This HAARP: Advances in Tesla Technology by Nick Begich Jr., son of Congressman Nick Begich and brother of Senator Mark Begich, claimed that the project in its present stage could be used for "geophysical warfare".[citation needed] Other conspiracy theorists extended the power of HAARP: "HAARP... can change weather patterns over whole continents, jam global communications systems, disrupt mental processes, manipulate the earth’s upper atmosphere."

In August 2002, a critical mention of HAARP technology came from the State Duma (parliament) of Russia. The Duma issued a press release on the HAARP written by the international affairs and defense committees, signed by 90 deputies and presented to then President Vladimir Putin. The statement claimed:

The U.S. is creating new integral geophysical weapons that may influence the near-Earth medium with high-frequency radio waves ... The significance of this qualitative leap could be compared to the transition from cold steel to firearms, or from conventional weapons to nuclear weapons. This new type of weapons differs from previous types in that the near-Earth medium becomes at once an object of direct influence and its component.

However, given the timing of the Russian intervention, it is possible that it was related to a controversy at the time concerning the US withdrawal in June 2002 from the Russian-American Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. This high level concern is paralleled in the April 1997 statement by the U.S. Secretary of Defense over the power of such electromagnetic weaponry. Russia owns and operates an ionospheric heater system as powerful as the HAARP, called 'Sura,' which is located roughly 150 km (93 mi) from the city of Nizhny Novgorod.

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