UA Science
Left: Steward Observatory GUSTO Mission Team- PI Chris Walker, Deputy PI Craig Kulesa. Right: Payload arriving in Antarctica.

GUSTO Balloon Mission Arrives at McMurdo Station, Antarctica!

On October 17th, the GUSTO mission—led by UArizona professor Christopher Walker—passed an important milestone on its journey to its December launch: the KDP-E Review at NASA Headquarters approved the balloon telescope mission for flight. Following the NASA approval, technicians loaded the integrated gondola and telescope aboard a turboprop NASA aircraft in Texas to begin its long trip to Antarctica. Several team members, including PI Christopher Walker, will meet the telescope at McMurdo Station, where they will spend the next several weeks preparing the ballooncraft for a December launch. 


Balloon Astronomy Takes Flight with FIREBall-2


Twenty miles above the New Mexico desert, the FIREBall-2 Mission seeks to map the most diffuse gas in the universe and its role in the formation and evolution of galaxies

To lift an SUV-sized telescope into the stratosphere with a balloon, the weather needs to be just right: barely a breath of breeze, low humidity. High in the stratosphere, slow currents of air need to circulate gently—too strong a wind, and the flight could end up across international borders, or adrift over the Pacific Ocean. The balloon takes flight at dawn, slowly rising 120,000 feet through layers of atmosphere, until the air thins enough for faint signals from UV light to transmit, arriving in...

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