Event A-112    2016 / 2017 Season

Research Objectives:
The Automatic Geophysical Observatories (AGO) are five unmanned observatories that provide power and telemetry for instrumentation on the Antarctic plateau. Historically, the AGO program has had a presence of magnetospheric research in the polar cap and auroral zone, with each AGO unit housing fluxgate and search-coils magnetometers, a riometer, a VHF antenna, and all-sky imagers. However, in the past five years the AGO platforms have attracted the attention of the broader scientific community and now the AGO facilities also house seismometers, GPS receivers, and Automatic Weather Stations. In addition, in the past few years the team has developed the AGO program to provide power at the ~100-W level with approximately 90% year-round uptime, with the only limitation on power being a lack of wind during austral winter.

Field-Season Overview:
 In the 2016-17 season, a three-person science team and one dedicated ASC mountaineer, will visit each AGO site for 2-3 days to replace the Data Acquisition (DAQ) system cards. The team will be raising and shoveling the shelters at each AGO site. They will travel by Twin Otter from South Pole to AGOs 1-4, and by LC-130 from McMurdo Station to AGO 5. The AGO 5 support will also require a groom team via Twin Otter prior to the LC-130 and fuel caching. AGO5 logistical support will be determined during the 2016 SIP submission. Old propane tanks will also be removed from the AGO 5 site. New DAQ systems will not be installed this season. At all five AGO sites the team will remove snow from the shelters and inspect the condition of the solar panels. The team will also inspect the wind turbines, batteries, and the general power system to verify that all are operating properly, and will perform any necessary instrument calibrations and field upgrades/repairs. In addition, they will install a new Iridium Short-Burst Data (SBD) system at AGO 5.