American space agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is working to launch a 8.4-foot telescope high into the stratosphere aboard a balloon of the size of a football stadium.
Astrophysics Stratospheric Telescope for High Spectral Resolution Observations at Submillimeter-wavelengths (ASTHROS) is tentatively planned to launch in December 2023 from Antarctica. It is a part of the space agency’s Scientific Balloon Program.
ASTHROS would be stationed at an altitude of about 130,000 feet, roughly four times higher than commercial airliners fly” to observe far-infrared light, or light with wavelengths much longer than what is visible to the human eye.
The balloon will spend about three weeks in the stratosphere and will study four main targets, including two star-forming regions in the Milky Way galaxy.
“The mission will pave the way for future space missions by testing new technologies and providing training for the next generation of engineers and scientists,” ASTHROS manager Jose Siles said.