NASA’s Super Pressure Balloon Takes Off
Wellington: Eighth time lucky. After seven unsuccessful attempts Nasa has launched a football stadium-sized balloon in Wanaka, New Zealand. The super-pressure balloon test flight is now on a planned 100-day journey.
According to balloon technologists, it may be visible from the ground, particularly at Sunrise and Sunset to those who live in the southern hemisphere’s mid-latitudes, such as Argentina and South Africa.
The purpose of the flight is to test and validate the super pressure balloon technology with the goal of long-duration flight at mid-latitudes.
In addition, the University of Chicago’s Extreme Universe Space Observatory on a Super Pressure Balloon (EUSO-SPB) is a mission of opportunity flying on the 2017 SPB test flight.
The EUSO-SPB is designed to detect high-energy cosmic rays originating from outside our galaxy as they penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere.
As these high-energy particles enter the atmosphere, they interact with nitrogen molecules in the air and create a UV fluorescence light.
From its high-altitude vantage point, EUSO-SPB will look downward observing a broad swathe of the Earth’s atmosphere to detect the UV fluorescence from these deep space cosmic rays coming in from above.