2018-2019 Science Planning Summaries
United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
2018-2019 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

The next generation of geospace research facilities at South Pole and McMurdo Stations

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A-111-M/P/S Research Location(s): Antenna Field / Arrival Heights / Terra Lab


Event Number:
NSF/OPP Award 1643700

Program Manager:
Dr. Vladimir Papitashvili

ASC POC/Implementer:
J. Rand / E. Kauffman / J. Johnson / T. Ager / N. Scheibe

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Andrew Gerrard
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Department of Physics
Newark, New Jersey


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station, Palmer Station, South Pole Station
Research Locations: Antenna Field / Arrival Heights / Terra Lab


The geomagnetic field protects life on Earth from geomagnetic storms and coronal mass ejections that could affect satellites and disrupt communication with ground stations. The polar caps are specific areas around the geomagnetic poles where geomagnetic field lines are open and directly interact with the interplanetary magnetic field. There are many geospace-monitoring stations over the northern polar cap but far fewer on the southern polar cap. This project integrates clustered instrumentation at all three USAP stations to examine solar- wind interactions within the entire geospace system. Instruments include ground-based fluxgate and search-coil magnetometers, extremely low frequency (ELF) and very-low-frequency (VLF) receivers, imaging and broadband riometers, sky-looking optical systems, and GPS scintillation-rated receivers.

Field Season Overview

A team of three will deploy to McMurdo Station in mid-December. In late December, the team will deploy to South Pole for approximately two weeks. Tasking will include replacing the Bath University's GPS computer, installing a proton magnetometer, inspecting the riometer antennae, and performing general data-acquisition system checks. They will also provide support and maintenance for instruments still in place at both McMurdo and South Pole from past project’s (A-109-S (Moore) and A-102-S (Lessard)). Specifically, they will: evaluate the VLF antennas and determine if excess snow accumulation needs to be moved, inspect antennas and cable for damage, calibrate the VLF system, catalog and package data for shipment northbound, and prepare the system for winter operations. One participant will deploy via the Laurence M. Gould to Palmer Station to review and repair the VLF receiver installed there.

Deploying Team Members

  • Hunter Burch
  • Nathaniel Frissell
  • Andrew Gerrard (PI)
  • Andrew Gerrard (PI)
  • Gilbert Jeffer
  • Gilbert Jeffer
  • Robert Melville
  • Robert Melville
  • Michelle Salzano
  • Andrew Stillinger
  • Andrew Stillinger