NASA recently launched a second super pressure balloon from Wānaka Airport in New Zealand. The balloon is carrying a special mission called EUSO-2, which is a science project from the University of Chicago.
The balloon is huge! It is about the size of a football stadium and can carry a payload of up to 10 tons. It is filled with a special gas that makes it very light, so it can float high up in the Earth’s upper atmosphere.
The balloon will stay in the atmosphere for more than 100 days! That’s a long time! During that time, it will collect data on cosmic-ray particles from outside our galaxy. These particles are very high-energy and can be dangerous, but they can also be used to learn about the universe.
NASA is using this mission to test and improve the super pressure balloon technology for future flights. The first balloon, launched in April, is doing well and flying at around 108,000 feet.
This is a very exciting time for NASA and for science! The data collected by these balloons will help us to better understand the universe and our place in it.