NASA’s going to study space with a football stadium-sized balloon

How NASA uses high-altitude balloons to test scientific instruments and spacecraft.
Published: Jul. 24, 2020 at 11:36 AM EDT
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(Gray News) – NASA is planning to use some of the world’s oldest aeronautical technology to do some of its most-advanced studying of the stars.

A balloon as a big as a football stadium will be used to lift a specialized telescope over Antarctica in 2023.

ASTHROS, which stands for astrophysics stratospheric telescope, will be carried by the big balloon to an altitude of nearly 25 miles.

While it circles the South Pole for a month, it will collect new data about the stars NASA has never been able to do before.

"Balloon missions like ASTHROS are higher-risk than space missions but yield high-rewards at modest cost," said engineer Jose Siles, project manager for ASTHROS.

Scientists expect to learn more about the Milky Way and the evolution of galaxies.

When the balloon deflates, the telescope will safely parachute back to earth, ready to be used again in the future.

Copyright 2020 Gray Media Group, Inc. CNN contributed to this report. All rights reserved.