A NASA scientific balloon on a mission over the Antarctic to detect cosmic rays has completed a record-breaking flight. The Super Trans-Iron Galactic Element Recorder—"Super-TIGER"—broke the record for longest flight by a balloon of its size 46 days into its mission and landed after 55 days, setting the flight duration record for any heavy-lift scientific balloon , NASA says. It flew at 127,000 feet, four times higher than commercial airliners.
Super-TIGER, which carried an instrument to detect rare elements heavier than iron in cosmic rays, brought back so much information that scientists will spend two years analyzing it. "This has been a very successful flight because of the long duration, which allowed us to detect large numbers of cosmic rays," a Super-TIGER mission chief says. "The instrument functioned very well."