Why the Wi-Fi is Illegal in Green Bank?

In one of the most remote and pristine areas of West Virginia, United States, in Pocahontas county, there is a very small and strangely quiet village. There are no radios, televisions, antennas, or computers. Two small groups of white houses, some pickups parked on the main road and then the attraction of the place, a huge telescope.

Here in Green Bank live a hundred people, the last census says 143 but could be increased because the strangeness of the place has attracted people who believe they are sick of electromagnetic hypersensitivity, even if this pathology according to the doctors does not exist, is not recognized, is not recognized, for example, by the world health organization.

It may seem strange, okay, but Green Bank does not live this way because here people belong to a cult, people are not afraid of technology or other particular ideas, here is the law that requires that we do not there are smartphones, computers, WiFi connections, televisions or radios. And the reason is just the big white telescope. The old telescope was built in the fifties and a new one, to replace the first, arrived in 2000.

Green Bank: Why Electric Systems are Illegal?

The point is that it is a special telescope, so sensitive that once the scientists who work there found an interference, they began to investigate where it came from, and finally discovered that it came from battery-powered fans sold in one of the few shops in the country.

That’s what the laws that prohibit almost all the technology here at Green Bank are for, to protect the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, the largest fully manual radio telescope in the world, from any kind of interference that could compromise its recording.

Because of the telescope, in Green Bank, if you want to talk to someone, you need to visit it and knock on its door. In 2019 for anyone who reads this article from a smartphone or PC is unthinkable, even difficult to imagine, yet for those who live in the small town of West Virginia it has always been like this: no microwave ovens, no cars with electric systems, no smart refrigerators or radio.

If the country is very small, the telescope above it is huge: 100 meters in diameter and a mobile structure that is unique in the world. It serves, among other things, to pick up electromagnetic waves that could inform us of the presence of intelligent beings on other planets. In fact it is here that Frank Drake wrote the famous “Drake equation”, that is the formula with which the possibility of extraterrestrial life is calculated. It is no coincidence that the equation also has another name: “Green Bank formula

Green Bank: Why Here?

The Robert C. Byrd radio telescope is here because it needed a place with special features to make it work: little pollution, proximity to some universities, reduced population and so on. Even today it allows astronomers to find, observe and collect data on space objects that emit very weak radio waves, and that therefore probably come from very distant objects. But not just radio waves, even lights. We talk about objects like pulsars, galaxies and new planets many light years away from our planet.  

The Green Bank observatory was also used for studies that made scientists observe for the first time the super-cluster of galaxies in which the Milky Way is included, an object about 500 million light years wide.

Who Pay For The Green Bank Telescope?

Of course, the telescope has a cost, but it is supported by the state and the inhabitants of Green Bank, despite being forced to live out of time, are keen to preserve their status as isolated citizens: tourists arrive here at Green Bank ( the cost for the visit of the telescope is 6 dollars) and then scientists, curious and many university students. The total earnings from the telescope activity, annually, are around 30 million dollars.

But what matters for those who live here is, in addition to the fact that the armature comes from activities linked to the telescope itself, the cultural and scientific importance of the place where they live: to see the documentary that made the National Geographic on Green Bank the inhabitants feel like part of a great experiment.

Thanks to National Geographic

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