Northern Exposure: With HAARP, an antenna array located 200 miles north of Anchorage, Alaska, scientists study the outer atmosphere by zapping it with radio waves generated by 3,600 kilowatts of electricity. Appropriately, it has a great view of the aurora borealis. U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
If the paranoid blogosphere is to be believed, every morning a group of plasma-physics grad students wakes up at a research facility in Gakona, Alaska, 200 miles north of Anchorage, and prepares for another day of playing God. It’s cold, dark as a mineshaft in winter, and the day’s work does little to cheer the mood. Depending on the unpredictable agendas of military scientists, this group of technicians must shoot radio waves into the upper reaches of our atmosphere to create missile shields, eviscerate enemy satellites, set off the occasional earthquake, or control the minds of millions of people.