2019-2020 Science Planning Summaries
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2019-2020 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Scientific studies from a network of sustainable, robotic observatories across the Antarctic ice shelf: A new approach to polar research

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A-112-M/S Research Location(s): AGO sites


Event Number:
NSF/OPP Award 1443507

Program Manager:
Dr. Robert Moore

ASC POC/Implementer:
Samina Ouda / Elizabeth Kauffman / Paul Sullivan

Principal Investigator(s)

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

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station, South Pole Station
Research Locations: AGO sites


The Automatic Geophysical Observatories (AGOs) are five unmanned stations deployed over the Antarctic Plateau that provide power and data transmission capabilities for various research instruments. Historically, the AGO program has collected magnetospheric data in the polar cap and auroral zone, with each AGO unit housing fluxgate and search-coil magnetometers, a riometer, a VHF antenna, and all-sky imagers. AGO platforms have attracted the attention of the broader scientific community, and now the AGO facilities also support seismometers, GPS receivers, and automatic weather stations.

Field Season Overview

One team of four, accompanied by an ASC mountaineer, will visit AGO3, AGO4, and AGO5 to upgrade and repair equipment. The first missions will be to AGO3 and AGO4 in mid to late December from South Pole. The second will be to AGO5 in mid-January from McMurdo Station.

Deploying Team Members

  • Andrew Gerrard (PI)
  • Andrew Gerrard (PI)
  • Gilbert Jeffer
  • Gilbert Jeffer
  • Robert Melville (Team Leader)
  • Robert Melville (Team Leader)
  • Andrew Stillinger
  • Andrew Stillinger