Yes, it is neutrino season again. Meaning that everyone at UCI is gearing up to send our team "down to the Ice".
Who can we expect on the team this year and who will report on their impressions, thoughts, the progress that has been made and the funny anecdotes?
Seasoned readers of this blog will remember Chris. It is Chris' fourth trip to Antarctica, which is quite an impressive record for 'only' being a graduate student. Since, admittedly, the novelty of going to Moore's Bay on the ice-shelf is rubbing of, Chris also gets to go to South Pole this year. Why? Well, I am sure we will get to talk about this in a future blog.
He will be joined by Geoff, who is also a graduate student at UCI. It will be Geoff's first trip and you will probably be hearing from him on Twitter. Putting new team member in charge of reporting is probably the most interesting. They will still point out the oddities that you encounter in McMurdo and when dealing with polar operations.
Next to the usual checking up on stations and their performance, both Chris and Geoff will concentrate on studying the ice. Interesting features, such as the somewhat unexpected horizontal propagation of radio waves, have been observed in past years. If correctly understood, this phenomenon is a great opportunity for radio detection of neutrinos, so it is time to study it in detail.
Then there will be Hans. Hans already went last year and is our Swedish expert on wind turbines. He is probably very excited to see whether the custom turbine that he had installed last year is still in one piece and recorded nice voltages over the winter.
The fourth member will be Shih-Hao, who is a graduate student at NTU in Taiwan. He is an expert on tau neutrinos and cosmic rays. For those of you, who don't (yet) know what this is. We will also get a chance to talk about this during the course of the season. And by the time they are back from the ice, we will also have suitable footage of him in polar disguise.
The UCI team is scheduled to leave Los Angeles (isn't LAX our favorite airport ...) on October 19th, so the clock is ticking. The heavy cargo has already been sent on its way and we expect the whole team to meet in New Zealand on the 21st. There, they will be equipped with clothing and if weather permits they will be off to Antarctica shortly.