NASA’s super balloon starts collecting near space data

An enormous super-pressure balloon launched by NASA on April 24 started collecting data in near space on Wednesday, the American space agency has announced.

The football-stadium-sized balloon EUSO-SPB started its planned 100-day planned journey after numerous launch attempts were thwarted by cyclones and storms. It lifted off from an airfield in Wanaka, New Zealand, and it is now traveling at an altitude of 110,000 feet around our planet’s Southern Hemisphere.

It is carrying a powerful telescope that researchers at the University of Chicago and around the globe will use to study cosmic rays.

University of Chicago professor and the project’s principal investigator Angela V. Olinto said, “The mission is searching for the most energetic cosmic particles ever observed. The origin of these particles is a great mystery that we’d like to solve.”

The powerful telescope will detect ultra-high energy cosmic rays as they penetrate the atmosphere of Earth. The telescope is equipped with an ultraviolet camera that is capable of capturing 400,000 images per second.

The long list of countries involved in the project includes the United States, Italy, France, Germany, Mexico, Poland and Japan.