NASA Balloon Gobbles Antarctic Data, Records
Cosmic ray detector spends 55 days aloft
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2013 12:13 AM CST
Super-TIGER beat the previous scientific balloon flight duration record by just over a day.   (NASA)

(Newser) – 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."

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Feb 5, 2013 2:28 PM CST
Slick idea. At the south pole the magnetic fields come down to earth, so there's loads of cosmic rays coming in. That's where auroras and ozone holes come from. Plus, I'd guess that when it's aloft it goes in little circles in the stratosphere instead of going all over hell and gone. First I'd heard that there are cosmic rays as heavy as iron ions.
Feb 5, 2013 10:24 AM CST
These balloons apparently only go to 'space' when some dude jumps out of 'em. Otherwise it's just the same altitude.
Feb 5, 2013 5:59 AM CST
"Super Tiger" that's what his hoes call Tiger Wood.