After 55 days of flying over Antarctica, the giant Super-TIGER science balloon from NASA has broken the record for the longest flight and brought back countless valuable data.
NASA said Super-TIGER balloon had a total of 55 days 1 hour and 34 minutes aerial flight at an altitude of 38,710m, more than 1 day compared to the previous record set in 2009.
The balloon has collected data on high-energy cosmic rays that have crashed into the Earth from the galaxy. This process involves using a new tool to measure rare elements heavier than iron in radioactive rays.
Scientists are finding out where these high-energy atoms come from and why they are so charged.
"This is a very successful flight because the long flight time allows us to detect large amounts of cosmic rays," said lead investigator Bob Binns.
NASA said it would take two years to fully analyze the data.
The long flight of the balloon is supported by the Antarctic wind. This wind moves anticlockwise, from East to West, in the stratosphere area some kilometers away from the ground.
This phenomenon, coupled with the sparsely populated and cold Antarctic, made the balloon's long flight possible.
"Science balloon brings the ability to collect scientific data in a very long time at a relatively cheap cost" - Vernon Jones, a NASA scientist said.