Categories: AstronomyAurora

Military Aurora Research Website Goes Dark As HAARP Facility Enters Contract Negotiations

A military program to investigate auroras in the north appears to have been suspended.

The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP)’s website (dead link here) is not available right now, and there’s been some media speculation about the program’s future. So far, though, our attempts to learn more about the situation have turned up little information.

“Currently the site is abandoned. It comes down to money. We don’t have any,” said James Keeney, who reportedly manages the HAARP project at Kirtland Air Force Base, in a report published by the American Radio Relay League earlier this week.

When Universe Today reached out to Keeney, however, he declined comment. We also got in touch with the public affairs officials at Kirtland Air Force Base, who said no one was immediately available for an interview and provided this statement:

A screenshot of Google Earth, with ionosphere overlayed (Google)

“HAARP is currently in contract negotiations and our policy is not to comment on current contract negotiations,” stated Marie M. Vanover, the director of Kirtland public affairs. “HAARP’s website is expected to be reopened and populated with the new and current information within 2-3 weeks.”

The program is jointly managed by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory to investigate activity in the ionosphere, the region of the Earth’s atmosphere where auroras occur. It includes an array of dozens of antennas that, media reports say, energize parts of the ionosphere.

HAARP is also the target of many conspiracy theories, ranging from warnings that it would trigger a change in the Earth’s magnetic poles to accusations that it is actually a weapon prototype. You can read more about the unproven allegations in this 2009 Wired article.

We’ll keep you posted on the facility’s status as we hear more.

Elizabeth Howell

Elizabeth Howell is the senior writer at Universe Today. She also works for Space.com, Space Exploration Network, the NASA Lunar Science Institute, NASA Astrobiology Magazine and LiveScience, among others. Career highlights include watching three shuttle launches, and going on a two-week simulated Mars expedition in rural Utah. You can follow her on Twitter @howellspace or contact her at her website.

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