While appearing to simply be an astronomical research laboratory, ATLAS was, in actuality, a military project on weather modification. The ATLAS Program, or Atmospheric Terraforming Laser Accelerator System, had limited success in its early months, mostly due to the apparent incompetence of Major Kirk Bentley. On January 24, 2076, Bentley was replaced by Lt. Col. James Oberlin, with the project set to have its funding cut unless scaleable results were able to be produced by April.
Under Oberlin's oversight, the project made progress at a rapid pace. By March 12, the prototype had succeeded in initiating light rainfall across a significant localized area. Funding for the ATLAS Program was extended under the condition that Dr. Hammond, the facility's chief research scientist, invested more research into higher-energy weather conditions. By August 20, the doctor was able to produce a wide variety of weather conditions based on data his team delivered to the lab. The latest prototype was capable of producing near-whiteout blizzard conditions, uncharacteristic weather for mid-August.
By August 2077, the project had been fully approved and funded for military use. Oberlin theorized that the system could diminish the threat of nuclear war by subtly sabotaging the enemy by manipulating the weather. On October 16, the ATLAS program and facility was suddenly ordered to be shut down, despite the project's success and utility. By October 22, Oberlin was instructed to falsify all of the facility's data to make it appear as a failure.
In spite of the facility's cancellation and the ensuing Great War, Dr. Hammond continued to work on the project for another five months, replacing the main lens, completing particle analyzes, and stabilizing the accelerator while attempting to use security robots as assistants. ATLAS eventually neared completion, but the project's functionality after the Great War remains unknown.
In mid-2103, Russell Dorsey established a campsite near the facility's entrance and, with the assistance of his utility protectrons, began constructing a framework around the structure. This included various elevated platforms, a medical tent, a landing pad, and deliberately sealing the observatory's interior. By late 2103, he had garnered the assistance of the Vault 76 residents in helping him fortify and establishing the new headquarters for the Brotherhood First Expeditionary Force.
The observatory caps the crest of the hill along Route 63 east of Monongah and is well marked on the map. There are three entrances to the building, though each has since been sealed. The exterior of the building was previously guarded by various robots and automated wall turrets, but has since been re-inhabited by Russell Dorsey and his utility protectrons. Various platforms now provide easy access to higher parts of the structure. Near the eastern entrance, an armor workbench, weapons workbench, and power armor station can be found alongside a stash box. A small medical tent lies above the southern entrance, and a small residential tent has been assembled to the south.
The interior of the facility has been sealed and is currently inaccessible. The building was a multi-level structure with border rooms encircling a vaulted central room that houses the telescope. It was seemingly filled with protectrons, Mister Gutsies, and a high-level assaultron. The building was full of loot and junk, including a Vault-Tec bobblehead in the main telescope room.
- Dorsey's diary - Note, underneath the bed in Russell Dorsey's tent.
- Note to self: Names - Note, past the red machinery, down the stairs, and on the white table directly ahead.
- Note to self: Parts - Note, underneath a metal staircase, next to some red machinery.
- Note to self: Railings - Note, up the wooden staircases that lead to the dome, then straight north. The note will be on a railing, at a platform in between two metal staircases.
- To-do: Nailgun - Note, in an infantry fighting vehicle across from Russell Dorsey.
- To-do: Power armor - Note, on a barrel next to the power armor station.
- To-do: Symbol - Note, attached to the dome. It is up the wooden staircases, following the walkway facing northeast.
Behind the scenesEdit
|The following is based on unverified behind the scenes information and has not been confirmed by canon sources.|
- The observatory shares its namesake with the Greek titan Atlas, who is credited with teaching humans astrology and is tasked with holding up the sky.
- The ATLAS Observatory may be based on the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), an ionospheric research facility jointly funded by the US Air Force, Navy, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Although it finds a home in Alaska instead of Appalachia, HAARP is a magnet for conspiracy theories that its true research goals center around controlling the weather.
- The ATLAS project may be based on Operation Popeye, a United States military project carried out during the Vietnam War, which involved seeding clouds in areas of North Vietnam in an attempt to extend the monsoon season.
|End of information based on unverified behind the scenes information.|
- ↑ Fallout 76 Vault Dweller's Survival Guide p.409 "22. OBSERVATORY
The Atlas Observatory, an atmospheric and astronomic facility, is one of the largest domed telescopes still left standing. It offers loot as well as information on what scientific research was going on before the bombs dropped. Outside, the rocky mountain outcrop upon which the observatory is built offers exceptional views to the west, toward Monongah. There's a small exterior door (2) on the structure's western edge, but the main entrance is on the south side, after navigating an enemy-filled parking lot (or sneaking in via the lower loading dock entrance to the southeast). Inside, the circular structure is somewhat confusing unless you methodically search each chamber, culminating with a check of the giant telescope itself."
(Fallout 76 Vault Dweller's Survival Guide Atlas of Appalachia)
- ↑ ATLAS Observatory terminal entries; Army data analysis terminal, Report [1-24-76]
- ↑ ATLAS Observatory terminal entries; Army data analysis terminal, Report [3-12-76]
- ↑ ATLAS Observatory terminal entries; Army data analysis terminal, Report [08-20-76]
- ↑ ATLAS Observatory terminal entries; Army data analysis terminal, Report [8-17-77]
- ↑ ATLAS Observatory terminal entries; Army data analysis terminal, Report [10-18-77]
- ↑ ATLAS Observatory terminal entries; Army data analysis terminal, Report [10-22-77]
- ↑ ATLAS research log 293
- ↑ Back in a bit
- ↑ Events of Fortifying ATLAS