2015-2016 Science Planning Summaries
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2015-2016 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Gamma-Ray Imager/Polarimeter for Solar flares (GRIPS)

Lowering the GRIPS instrument into a chamber at Plum Brook Station for thermal-vacuum testing. Photo by: Albert Shih


Event Number:

Program Manager:
Dr. Vladimir Papitashvili

ASC POC/Implementer:
Cara Sucher / Chad Naughton / Scott Battaion

Principal Investigator

Dr. Pascal Saint-Hilaire

University of California Berkeley
Space Sciences Laboratory
Berkeley, California

Project Web Site:
http://grips.ssl.berkeley.edu External Web Site


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: Williams Field


The Gamma-Ray Imager/Polarimeter for Solar flares (GRIPS) is a high-altitude balloon-borne experiment. GRIPS will provide detailed high-resolution spectroscopy, imaging, and polarimetry of the gamma/hard x-ray (HXR) spectrum over wide ranges of energy (20 kilo-electron-Volts to 10 million-electron-Volts) and spatial resolutions (quasi-continuously from 12.5 - 162 arcseconds). GRIPS will shed light on a number of solar flare mysteries: (1) Do all flares accelerate ions? (2) Which ions are accelerated and when? (3) What causes the separation between the ion-produced gamma rays and energetic electron HXR emissions in the foot points of flares? (4) Are the accelerated electrons anisotropic? and (5) What are the properties of coronal gamma-ray sources?

Field Season Overview

Field team members will facilitate the preparation, launch, and recovery of NASA-sponsored high-altitude balloons and science payloads. They will be housed at McMurdo Station and will commute daily to the Williams Field launch facility. Balloon and payload preparations are timed to coincide with favorable weather and wind patterns. Upon termination of the flights, recovery teams will use fixed-wing and/or helicopter support to retrieve the payloads.

Deploying Team Members

  • Hazel Bain
  • Amir Caspi
  • Nicole Duncan
  • Niharika Godbole
  • Glenn Laurent
  • Nelson Machado
  • Bennett Maruca
  • Brent Mochizuki
  • Nicole Moody
  • Jerome Olson
  • Pascal Saint-Hilaire (PI)
  • Albert Shih