In 1899, Tesla decided to move and began research in Colorado Springs, Colorado in a lab located near Foote Ave. and Kiowa St., where he would have room for his high-voltage, high-frequency experiments. Upon his arrival he told reporters that he was conducting wireless telegraphy experiments transmitting signals from Pikes Peak to Paris. Tesla's diary contains explanations of his experiments concerning the ionosphere and the ground's telluric currents viatransverse waves and longitudinal waves. At his lab, Tesla proved that the earth was a conductor, and he produced artificial lightning (with discharges consisting of millions of volts, and up to 135 feet long). Tesla also investigatedatmospheric electricity, observing lightning signals via his receivers. Reproductions of Tesla's receivers and coherer circuits show an unpredicted level of complexity (e.g., distributed high-Q helical resonators, radio frequency feedback, crude heterodyne effects, and regeneration techniques). Tesla stated that he observed stationary waves during this time.
Tesla researched ways to transmit power and energy wirelessly over long distances (via transverse waves, to a lesser extent, and, more readily, longitudinal waves). He transmitted extremely low frequencies through the ground as well as between the Earth's surface and the Kennelly–Heaviside layer. He received U.S. Patent 645,576 on wireless transceivers that developed standing waves by this method. In his experiments, he made mathematical calculations and computations based on his experiments and discovered that the resonant frequency of the Earth was approximately 8 hertz (Hz). In the 1950s, researchers confirmed that the resonant frequency of the Earth's ionospheric cavity was in this range (later named the Schumann resonance).
In Colorado Springs, Tesla carried out various long distance wireless transmission-reception experiments. Tesla effectis the application of a type of electrical conduction (that is, the movement of energy through space and matter; not just the production of voltage across a conductor). Through longitudinal waves, Tesla transferred energy to receiving devices. He sent electrostatic forces through natural media across a conductor situated in the changingmagnetic flux and transferred electrical energy to a wireless receiver.
In the Colorado Springs lab, Tesla observed unusual signals that he later thought might have been evidence ofextraterrestrial radio wave communications coming from Venus or Mars. He noticed repetitive signals from his receiver which were substantially different from the signals he had noted from storms and earth noise. Specifically, he later recalled that the signals appeared in groups of one, two, three, and four clicks together. Tesla had mentioned that he thought his inventions could be used to talk with other planets. There have even been claims that he invented a "Teslascope" for just such a purpose. It is debatable what type of signals Tesla received or whether he picked up anything at all. Research has suggested that Tesla may have had a misunderstanding of the new technology he was working with, or that the signals Tesla observed may have been non-terrestrial natural radio source such as the Jovian plasma torus signals. Other sources hypothesize that he may have intercepted Marconi's European experiments—for in December 1901, Marconi successfully transmitted the letter S (dot/dot/dot, which were the same three impulses that Tesla claimed to have received from outer space while at Colorado in 1899) from Poldhu, Cornwall, England toSignal Hill in St John's, Newfoundland (now part of Canada)—or signals from another experimenter in wireless transmission.
Tesla left Colorado Springs on 7 January 1900. The lab was torn down ca. 1905 and its contents sold to pay debts. The Colorado experiments prepared Tesla for the establishment of the trans-Atlantic wireless telecommunications facility known as Wardenclyffe near Shoreham, Long Island.