UAF tries to put conspiracy theories about HAARP to rest

Published: Aug. 13, 2018 at 10:28 PM AKDT
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UAF is inviting people to their $290 million dollar research facility that studies the upper atmosphere. It's called HAARP, short for High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program.

There's a bit of lingering controversy surrounding HAARP that researchers are looking to put to rest. People have made science fiction-like assertions that the equipment at this site can control minds, alter weather, and even make a caribou walk backwards. Dozens of publications, and even a book, have been written about the conspiracies believed to be involved with HAARP, but officials at the university say these are false accusations.

The university acquired this facility from the military a few years ago to continue studying the highest level of the atmosphere where the auroras live. A strong aurora storm has the potential to interfere with radio communications, cell phones, TV broadcasts, and even electrical grids. Studying the upper atmosphere can help UAF understand how those auroral interactions work, and how they can prevent the interference.

HAARP can study the skies with an array of delicately tuned radio antennas that broadcast straight up in the air. The facility is located about five hours south of Fairbanks off the Richardson highway. It's not usually open to the public, but on August 25, they're allowing people to tour the site and learn more about what they really do out there.

"It's an exquisite facility. It's the best of its kind in the world, cost about $290 million to build and the university received it for free so we're now trying using it to do basic research into the ionosphere," said public relations manager, Sue Mitchell.

HAARP'S free open house is Saturday, August 25 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can drive or take the round trip bus from UAF. Bus tickets can be purchased before August 21. There will be facility tours, science lectures, and educational activities.