HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - NASA has awarded a team of UH Manoa researchers a $1.4 million grant. It's all part of the Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna experiment.
NASA awarded the ANITA grant to five other U.S. Institutions, UH Manoa being the lead institution.
The ANITA project was created to view the Antarctic ice sheet over a large area using an advanced group of antennas. These antennas are designed to detect sharp bursts of radio waves released by cosmic high energy neutrinos as they interact within the ice sheet.
A set of 40 antennas is carried around the Antarctic ice sheet by a stadium-sized balloon. It circles the continent from 120,000 feet in the air to detect radio bursts from within the ice.
UH Manoa Professor Peter Gorham along with approximately 45 researchers have been working on the ANITA project since 2003.
On a flight in 2007, the UH team members found a new way to detect high energy particles. The team realized they were observing radio signals from ultra-high-energy cosmic-rays-protons or atomic nuclei. This caused radio bursts in the earth's atmosphere and was detected by ANITA.
The paper which depicts the team's discovery was featured as the cover article in the Oct. 8 edition of Physics review Letters.
The next ANITA flight expected to launch in three years.
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