2016-2017 Science Planning Summaries
United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
2016-2017 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Precision operation of Hexagonal Radio Array (HRA)

Precision operation of Hexagonal Radio Array (HRA)


Event Number:
NSF/OPP Award 1607719

Program Manager:
Dr. Vladimir Papitashvili

ASC POC/Implementer:
Matthew Erickson / Jennifer Blum

Principal Investigator

Dr. Steven Barwick

University of California Irvine
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Irvine, California

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: ARIANNA site at Moore's Bay


This pilot project for the Antarctic Ross Ice-Shelf Antenna Neutrino Array (ARIANNA) consists of seven autonomous stations, called the Hexagonal Radio Array (HRA). Located on the surface of the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica, the HRA is designed to detect short-duration radio pulses generated by neutrino interactions in the ice, which reflect from the ice-water boundary at the bottom of the Ross Ice Shelf up to the stations on the surface. These measurements provide important insight regarding the locations of the most powerful particle accelerators in the universe, and they allow physicists to probe for novel physics beyond the standard model used in the field.

Field Season Overview

Three team members will travel by helicopter to the ARIANNA camp site, located at Moore's Bay, about 70 miles south of McMurdo Station. They will receive ASC support for put-in and pull-out of a tent camp where they will reside for approximately three weeks. The tasks they hope to complete this season include: (1) Collecting untransmitted data from the Hexagonal Radio Array (HRA) stations; (2) Raising or replacing three solar panel towers that are now at or below the snow level; (3) Analyzing and interpreting transient events from the Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) Hical payload, searching for coincident events between stations, and measuring direction and waveform properties; (4) Continuing to evaluate and characterize external sources of noise, and develop background rejection procedures; (5) Drilling two holes to a depth of 10 to 20 m and inserting radio transmitters to make first precision measurements of attenuation and scattering properties of the firn snow at ARIANNA frequencies; and (6) Continuing precision ice studies with bounce experiments at large angles. Retro of equipment and supplies from ARIANNA back to McMurdo will occur opportunistically.

Deploying Team Members

  • Steven Barwick (PI)
  • Christopher Persichilli