The AA (ANITA) (Antarctic Impulse Transient Antenna) experiment has been designed to study ultra-high-energy (UHE) cosmic neutrinos by detecting the radio pulses emitted by their interacting with the Antarctic ice sheet. This is to be accomplished using an array of 36 radio antennas (cylindrically arranged with an approximate radius of 3m and a height of 5m) suspended from a helium balloon flying at a height of about 35,000 meters.
The neutrinos, with energies on the order of 1018 eV, produce radio pulses in the ice because of the Askaryan effect. It is believed that these high-energy cosmic neutrinos result from interaction of ultra-high-energy (1020 eV) cosmic rays with the photons of the cosmic microwave background radiation. It is thus hoped that the ANITA experiment can shed light on the origin of these cosmic rays.
ANITA launched from McMurdo, Antarctica in the summer of 2006-07. The array should travel around the continent with the circumpolar winds for approximately a month before being recovered by the CSBF. Each successive mission (if funded) would be at two year intervals.
ANITA is currently being funded by NASA.
The current ANITA collaboration team includes members from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, University of California, Los Angeles, The Ohio State University, the University of California at Irvine, Washington University, and the University of Minnesota at Twin Cities.
^ "ANITA: Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna".
Tuning into UHE Neutrinos in Antarctica - The ANITA Experiment