NASA gives go-ahead for $20M multi-institution balloon experiment led by UChicago scientists

January 6, 2022

A rendering of what PUEO may look like when deployed. Rendering courtesy of Christian Miki at the University of Hawaii

University of Chicago physicist Abby Vieregg is leading an international experiment that essentially uses the ice in Antarctica as a giant detector to find extremely energetic particles from outer space. Recently approved by NASA, the $20 million project will build an instrument to fly above the Antarctic in a balloon, launching in December 2024.

“We are searching for the very highest-energy neutrinos in the universe,” said Vieregg, an associate professor in the Department of Physics. “They are made in the most energetic and extreme places in the cosmos, and these neutrinos offer a unique glimpse into these places. Finding one or several of them could let us learn completely new things about the universe.”

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