2017-2018 Science Planning Summaries
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2017-2018 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

RISE-UP: Ross Ice Shelf and Europa Underwater Probe

no photo available


Event Number:
NASA 15-PSTAR15_2-004

Program Manager:
Ms. Jessie Crain

ASC POC/Implementer:
Samina Ouda / Elizabeth Kauffman / Chad Naughton

Principal Investigator

Dr. Britney Elyce Schmidt

Georgia Institute of Technology
Earth & Atmospheric Sciences
Atlanta, Georgia

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: Near station sea ice / Ross Ice Shelf


Researchers on the Ross Ice Shelf and Europa Underwater Probe (RISE-UP) project seek to improve understanding of the environments below ice shelves and sea ice. The science team will use the purpose-built remotely operated vehicle-autonomous underwater vehicle (ROV-AUV) "Icefin" to search for biological communities, map the ice and seafloor, and understand ocean-water structure and currents. Through improved constraint of terrestrial ice/ocean cryosphere processes, this project will enhance understanding of the evolution of other ocean-world environments in our solar system (e.g. Europa’s ice shell), which are prime targets in NASA’s search for life. This project aims to continue chasing the limits of life on Earth while developing techniques for future exploration of other planets or moons.

Field Season Overview

Participants will reside on station for six weeks before, and for one week after, their deployment to the field. After field staging and testing the vehicle in the sea ice near station, the team will be transported by Twin Otter or Basler aircraft to the NZARI RIS field camp on the Ross Ice Shelf. Once there, they will deploy Icefin through boreholes created by the NZARI RIS team.

Deploying Team Members

  • Justin Lawrence
  • Joshua Lutz
  • Matthew Meister
  • Britney Schmidt (PI)