In 1993, the USAF, US Navy, and the University of Alaska embarked on a joint project called High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, or HAARP. The name really says it all: this project is dedicated to the study of Earth’s ionosphere, which it generally does by pointing a high gain antenna skyward, and turning on the juice which causes it to generate a powerful electromagnetic field.

Such antenna is called an ionospheric heater, and was first conceived by Nikola Tesla around the year 1899–though his experiments never achieved the power output available today. Presently there are several institutions in the world which have ionospheric heaters, and some are equivalent to HAARP in the power they deliver–enough to cause man-made aurorae, and perhaps enough to damage a spacecraft in planetary orbit.

Is it a preposterous notion to think that governments would go to the length of wrapping a weapon in an otherwise benign looking science facility? After all, it is just a theory surrounding a government operation and claiming a conspiracy, but consider the possibilities.

The electromagnetic E-Bomb is a weapon designed around one aspect of the Atomic Bomb: the electromagnetic pulse (EMP). This invisible, intensely fluctuating magnetic field can overload and destroy electronic circuits within its area of influence. While the E-Bomb would not yield the same spectacular light show as the EMP weapon that was seen in the film “The Matrix”, it would be far more deadly. People working around high EM emissions of that type generally wear a Faraday cage on their head because the brain is an electronic device, and can be susceptible to an electromagnetic pulse. In the case of “The Matrix”, I’m not sure how the heroes survived … let alone their ship. Maybe the Nebuchadnezzar used vacuum tube technology, which is not vulnerable to such an assault.

An ionospheric heater isn’t an E-Bomb, but they work through the same principles: overloading things with electromagnetic energy. Much more like the antennae at HAARP are the high gain antennae used in radio nests during World War II. Many radio operators were trained to aim their antenna at enemy troops and turn it on if there was no other option. Demonstrations of this improvised weapon consisted of popping an egg or heating up a can with the radio waves. Such a tactic probably wouldn’t have stopped anyone, but it wouldn’t have done them any good either.

But the HAARP antennae are much larger, and much more powerful than those used in World War II era radio nests. Powerful enough to down a spacecraft as some conspiracists claim? Unlikely. That honor is reserved for the Large Millimeter Telescope in Mexico.

The LMT is a joint project between the US Military and Mexico. Its primary mission is to use radio waves to probe the origins of the universe, but Phillip Coyle–who was director of operational testing and evaluation–said that officials refused to fund the project unless there was a “strong potential for military use.” The radio telescope is designed to find and train in on very small objects in the sky. It’s harmless to distant galaxies, but circuitry inside man-made satellites in Earth orbit are vulnerable to such levels of HF radio. If the antenna were trained upon an unhardened satellite, the conductor or semiconductor materials inside would be overloaded, and the circuitry fragged.

Nevertheless, the people who man the LMT maintain that it is a facility for science, and they are astronomers–uninterested in making war. Despite the telescope’s potential use as a weapon, they maintain that it isn’t really a weapon, nor is it meant to be. That makes me feel better.

Article suggested by Anthony C.

Written by Jason Bellows, posted on 05 July 2006. Jason is a contributing editor for DamnInteresting.com.
DOWNLOADS
eBooks and audiobooks