10-12-2017 06:00 AM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream
NASA to launch scientific balloon
NASA scientists are all set to launch a balloon-borne instrument into space to gather information on cosmic rays, high-energy particles from beyond the solar system that enters Earth's atmosphere every day.
The instrument called Super Trans-Iron Galactic Element Recorder (SuperTIGER) will be launched from Antartica on December 10. It is designed to study rare heavy nuclei, which hold clues about where and how cosmic rays attain speeds up to nearly the speed of light.
Robert Binns, the principal investigator at Washington University in the US, which leads the mission said that the previous flight of Super TIGER in 2013 lasted 55 days setting a record for the longest flight of any heavy-lift scientific balloon.
The most common cosmic ray particles are protons or hydrogen nuclei, making up roughly 90 per cent, followed by helium nuclei (eight per cent) and electrons (one per cent).
John Mitchell at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in the US explains that heavy elements, like the gold in jewelry, are produced through special processes in stars, and SuperTIGER aims to help us understand how and where this happens. He added, "We're all stardust, but figuring out where and how this stardust is made helps us better understand our galaxy and our place in it."