Science

Huge HAARP antenna array reflects radio signals from Jupiter

The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, or HAARP, is in the midst of a massive science campaign that will see the object reflect signals from the Moon and Jupiter.

HAARP consists of 180 antennas designed to transmit signals into the ionosphere, which extends from 30 miles (48 kilometers) to 600 miles (965 kilometers) above sea level and is considered the area where Earth’s atmosphere meets space, according to NASA. (will open in a new tab). The ionosphere plays an important role in radio transmission because it reflects radio waves. Many satellites occupy this region of the atmosphere, which is strongly affected by solar weather.

HAARP is in the midst of a 10-day research campaign that is “the largest and most diverse to date,” HAARP program manager Jessica Mathews said in a statement. (will open in a new tab). Among the 13 experiments being conducted during the campaign are projects that will observe signal reflections from the Moon and Jupiter to test HAARP’s ability to study objects far from Earth.

Related: NASA Ionospheric Communications Explorer (ICON): Studying the Earth’s Ionosphere

According to a statement from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), one of the most ambitious experiments underway during the current HAARP campaign is known as the “Jupiter Bounce” or “Interplanetary Ionosonde”. (will open in a new tab). The experiment will test the ability of HAARP to reflect signals from Jupiter’s ionosphere, as well as determine the ability of the University of New Mexico longwave array receivers to receive reflected signals. According to a UAF statement, the experiment is “the largest active remote sensing operation in history.”

“This is the first experiment of its kind (which, at least to my knowledge, has never been done before,” Evans Kallis, head of HAARP research support, said in an interview with Alaska Public Media. (will open in a new tab). “We are transmitting several different frequencies from the HAARP pointing to Jupiter. We’re listening to the returning echo, and it should tell us something about the electromagnetic conditions around Jupiter.”

Part of an antenna array as part of the High Frequency Active Aurora Research Program. (Image credit: Secoy, A/Wikimedia Commons)

Another experiment, known as Moon Bounce, will see signals reflected from the Moon back to receivers in New Mexico and California. These signals will be evaluated for use in determining the composition of near-Earth asteroids for future planetary defense purposes.

Meanwhile, the HAARP “Make the Invisible Seen” experiment “will test whether hot electrons are capable of producing the continuous (white) radiation present in the STEVE airglow.” STEVE, short for Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement, is an aurora-like phenomenon that occurs when charged solar particles interact with the Earth’s ionosphere.

“If we see this airglow and it matches the wavelength of light that we see from natural STEVE, it will give us an indication that hot electrons play a role in the formation of STEVE,” Kallis said.

Read more: STEVE’s Strange Aurora-Like Phenomenon Captured in Stunning Night Sky Photo

A strong thermal emission velocity increase (STEVE) photographed on September 5, 2022 over the Keweenaw Peninsula in Upper Michigan. (Image credit: Isaac Diener)

According to the project’s website, one of the most unique experiments, “Ghosts in the Glow,” will combine art and atmospheric research to “play with the marginal boundaries of Earth’s atmosphere and outer space.” (will open in a new tab). The experiment will use HAARP to reflect images, spoken words and sound art off the ionosphere to learn more about radio wave propagation.

The HAARP facility was built in 1993 and was initially operated by several US military research agencies, including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Air Force Research Laboratory, and the Office of Naval Research. In 2015, the ownership of the facility passed to UAF. (will open in a new tab).

Although the object was primarily used for upper-atmospheric research, it has been the subject of numerous conspiracy theories. (will open in a new tab) almost three decades since its construction. Some have accused the US government of using the facility to alter the weather, cause earthquakes, create “chemical trails”, or even transmit mind control signals. (will open in a new tab).

To date, there has been no evidence that the object was used for mind control or anything other than atmospheric research. According to the FAQ page on the HAARP website (will open in a new tab)“Neuroscience is a complex field of research conducted by medical professionals, not scientists and researchers from HAARP.”

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