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Air Force prepares to dismantle HAARP ahead of summer shutdown
firstname.lastname@example.org May 14, 2014 Updated 13 hours ago
FAIRBANKS — The U.S. Air Force gave official notice to Congress Wednesday that it intends to dismantle the $300 million High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program in Gakona this summer.
The shutdown of HAARP, a project created by the late Sen. Ted Stevens when he wielded great control over the U.S. defense budget, will start after a final research experiment takes place in mid-June, the Air Force said in a letter to Congress Tuesday.
The University of Alaska has expressed interest in taking over the research site, which is off the Tok Cutoff in an area where black spruce was cleared a quarter-century ago for the Air Force backscatter radar project that was never completed. But the school has not volunteered to pay $5 million a year to run HAARP.
Responding to questions from Sen. Lisa Murkowski during a Senate hearing Wednesday, David Walker, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for science, technology and engineering, said this is “not an area that we have any need for in the future” and it would not be a good use of Air Force research funds to keep HAARP going. “We’re moving on to other ways of managing the ionosphere, which the HAARP was really designed to do,” he said. “To inject energy into the ionosphere to be able to actually control it. But that work has been completed.”
Comments of that sort have given rise to endless conspiracy theories, portraying HAARP as a superweapon capable of mind control or weather control, with enough juice to trigger hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes.
Scientists say all of that is nonsense, and that the degree of ionosphere control possible through HAARP is akin to controlling the Pacific Ocean by tossing a rock into it.
Built at a cost of more than $290 million, the site has 180 antennas on 30 acres that are used to direct energy into the ionosphere, which is 55 miles to 370 miles above the Earth, and monitor changes in the flow of charged particles. Stevens was the godfather of HAARP, which he helped start two decades ago with annual earmarks slipped into the defense budget.
At the hearing on defense research and innovation, featuring six representatives of the Pentagon, no one said HAARP has a future in the defense budget.
Walker said the Air Force has maintained the site for several years and the last project is one by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Once completed, the site will close.
DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar said, “The ‘P’ in DARPA is projects. We’re not in the business of doing the same thing forever, so very naturally as we conclude that work, we’re going to move on. It’s not an ongoing need for DARPA despite the fact that we had actually gotten some good value out of that infrastructure in the past.”
Walker said the Air Force would like to remove critical equipment this summer to avoid the expense of winterization.
Alan Shaffer, assistant secretary of defense for research and engineering, said HAARP is a “world-class facility,” but the department does not need it anymore.
“With all the other issues and problems and challenges facing the department at this time, we just don’t see that that investment, over a long-term period, is where we would prioritize our investment,” said Shaffer.
“No one else wants to step up to the bill, ma’am,” Shaffer said to Murkowski.
On another topic, Murkowski asked Shaffer about small modular nuclear reactors for remote areas. She said, for example, Eielson Air Force Base could benefit from “reliable energy security that nuclear power can provide.”
Shaffer said the “sticker shock” of an initial $1 billion investment for a small nuclear reactor is a huge obstacle.
Reach Dermot Cole at email@example.com.
Fear not HAARP fans, there are plenty more of the sky-frying microwave radars out there to complain about. The upcoming EISCAT3D in Tromsø, Norway will dwarf HAARP with its 100 gigawatt (the rating Bernard Eastlund was talking about) rating and is projected to be completed by 2016-18. Space-weather and magnetospheric modifications will continue with increasing boldness until there is recognition that these facilities harm our environment in ways unseen. Explore these reasons on my HAARP research page, which contains several articles, a timeline of events, and a map of high-power microwave transmitters similar to HAARP. If you know of a facility I missed, and should be included in the map, please contact me on any of my social media sites and we’ll get it in there.
EISCAT 3D description and status (October 2012)
Wed, 2012-10-17 15:50 — anders
A summary of the status of EISCAT Scientific Association and the EISCAT_3D ESFRI Preparatory Phase project was prepared in October 2012. The text that follows can be downloaded as a pdf-document:
EISCAT_3D (E3D) will be a world-leading international research infrastructure using the incoherent scatter technique to study the atmosphere in the Fenno-Scandinavian Arctic and to investigate how the Earth’s atmosphere is coupled to space. The E3D phased-array system will be operated by and will be an integral part of EISCAT Scientific Association, that has successfully been running incoherent scatter radars on Svalbard and on the Scandinavian Mainland for 30 years. The current EISCAT Associates are China, Finland, Japan, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
The E3D baseline design suggests a core site that will be located close to the intersection of the Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish borders and four receiving sites located within approximately 50 to 250 km from the core. The project is currently in its preparatory phase and can smoothly transit into implementation in 2014, provided that sufficient funds are allocated. Construction can start 2016 and first operations in 2018.
The full implementation of E3D depends on the level of funding to be provided by the current EISCAT Associates and by new members. The present EISCAT is fully integrated in the global network of incoherent scatter radars and E3D is an environmental research infrastructure on the European ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures) roadmap.