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NASA Launches Super Balloon To Detect Cosmic Particles From Near Space (nzherald.co.nz) 11

"After seven unsuccessful attempts NASA has launched a stadium-sized balloon in Wanaka," reports the New Zealand Herald, adding that the super-pressure balloon will collect data from "near space" over the next 100 days. Reuters reports: The balloon, designed by NASA to detect ultra-high energy cosmic particles from beyond the galaxy as they penetrate the earth's atmosphere, is expected to circle the planet two or three times. "The origin of these particles is a great mystery that we'd like to solve. Do they come from massive black holes at the centre of galaxies? Tiny, fast-spinning stars? Or somewhere else?" Angela Olinto, a University of Chicago professor and lead investigator on the project, said in a statement.
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NASA Launches Super Balloon To Detect Cosmic Particles From Near Space

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    If I come across this thing laying in a field, can I keep it? I mostly just want the solar panels but there are probably other cool parts on it.

    Of course, odds are it's going to land in an ocean.

  • but... (Score:4, Funny)

    by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Saturday April 29, 2017 @07:30PM (#54326633)
    I hope they don't put cameras on it or they might accidentally show a pic of the ground proving that the Earth is flat. You know they like to cover that up regularly.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Here's NASA's take. You know, those folks who fly Balloons. Among other things:
    https://www.nasa.gov/feature/wallops/2017/nasas-super-pressure-balloon-takes-flight-from-new-zealand

    "EUSO-SPB's objective is to detect ultra-high energy cosmic rays from beyond 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."

    Their home page:
    http://jem-euso.roma2.infn.it/?page_id=1354

  • The NASA balloon program has been increasing the lifespan of high altitude balloons, and their size. If you want to stick a couple tons above the atmosphere for 100 days, the balloon is a cheap way to do it.

  • by ctrl-alt-canc ( 977108 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @08:24AM (#54328293)

    ...the baloon crash-landed in an unexpected way. Further examination revealed that the baloon succesfully captured some spherical particles of about 1mm diameter, that were so energetic (energy has been estimated in the TeV range), to pierce the baloon causing it to deflate. Mass-spectrometry analysis of the strange particles revealed that they are made of lead, with some traces of antimony and arsenic.

    NASA scientists are puzzled, because this kind of particles weren't supposed to exist in space, at least according to current cosmological theories, and they are now busy trying to modify current models of star evolution to explain the presence of lead in space. An unidentified source suggested a terrestrial origin [azar-sachmeh.com] for the particles, but it has vigorously denied by a NASA spokeperson.

    • I suppose that this just shows I haven't RFA, but...

      A sphere of lead 1mm in diameter has a radius of 0.05 cm

      Volume: 4/3 * pi * r^3 = 1.333 * 3.1416 * 0.05^3 = 5.23e-4 cm^3

      Mass: 5.23e-4 cm^3 * 11.34 g/ml = 5.93e-3 g = 5.93e-6 Kg

      A Joule is 1 Kg * (m/s)^2
      and 1Tev = 1.60e-7 J so...

      Velocity:
      1.60e-7 J = 5.93e-6 Kg * v^2:
      1.60e-7 J / 5.93e-6 Kg = v^2 = 0.0270:
      so... :
      v = sqrt(0.0270) = 0.164 m/s:

      wow. Sorta pops their bubbled.

  • Neat Article, as thought about the possibilities of space balloons. I wonder if could see those with my Budget Telescope [galactictelescopes.com]?

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