A balloon-borne scientific instrument designed to study the origin of cosmic rays is taking its second turn high above the continent of Antarctica three and a half weeks after its launch.
SuperTIGER (Super Trans-Iron Galactic Element Recorder) is designed to measure the rare, heavy elements in cosmic rays that hold clues about their origins outside of the solar system. The effort is a collaboration among Washington University in St. Louis, Goddard Space Flight Center, California Institute of Technology Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Minnesota.
The longer the balloon and instrument are up, the better.
“The significance of our observation increases with the number of events we observe essentially linearly with time, so we simply want to have as long a flight as possible to maximize the statistics of the data collected,” said Brian Rauch, research assistant professor of physics in Arts & Sciences at Washington University and principal investigator for SuperTIGER. “A day of data is a small increment of progress, and we just have to put our heads down and keep grinding away.