[UPDATE] Wash. U. Physicists to Set to Break Ballooning Record...In Antarctica


ob-association_opt.jpg
image via
An OB association, a possible source of the cosmic rays collected by Super-TIGER.
The balloon itself is an enormous thing, wider in diameter than the Arch is tall, and made of thick polyethylene film. (Relatively thick: 20 micrometers, which is way less than a single millimeter.) It's attached to Super-TIGER by steel cables.

So far, the balloon has floated around Antarctica twice. The scientists figure it has enough gas left to make it around one last time. When it gets back within striking range of the launch site of McMurdo, the scientists will bring it down with the aid of two explosions, the first to deflate the balloon and activate the landing parachute and the second to detach the parachute from Super-TIGER so it doesn't go sliding across the ice like a rogue parasailer on spring break. (Such was the sad fate of TIGER, Super-TIGER's predecessor, which launched ten years ago and met an ignominious end, abandoned in remote East Antarctica.)

It's not like it's necessary to send Super-TIGER around again. But the data! Think of the data! And also, who can possibly deny that breaking the ballooning rule in the bargain is super cool? In celebration, the Super-TIGER crew has designed a pirate flag and the Twitter feed has taken on a piratical tone.

It has become painfully apparent that scientists have the best toys.


My Voice Nation Help
2 comments

Now Trending

St. Louis Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...