This is the official logo of the TIGER instrument launch, 2001-2002. TIGER was launched onboard a balloon in December 2001 and landed back in Antarctica in January 2002.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA in collaboration with Washington University, Caltech and the University of Minnesota

TIGER's in Antarctica?
News story originally written on February 1, 2002

Can you imagine a balloon that is wider than a football field and taller than the Washington Monument? Well, this balloon is real! This balloon was launched on December 20, 2001, from McMurdo Station, Antarctica. When it landed 31 days and 20 hours later on January 21, 2002, it had broken all records for long-duration balloon flights! The best record before this was 26 days set in January 2001.

The balloon carried the TIGER instrument, which stands for the Trans-Iron Galactic Element Recorder experiment. TIGER was studying galactic cosmic rays, thousands and thousands of which strike the Earth's atmosphere every second!

The balloon that carried TIGER up into the air was helium-filled. You may have gotten a helium-filled, foil balloon for your birthday once, but TIGER's balloon was made of thin polyethylene material, which is about the same thickness as ordinary sandwich wrap. Isn't it cool that this balloon could complete two orbits around the South Pole before it had to land!?

Last modified February 1, 2002 by Jennifer Bergman.

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

1999--A Year in Review...

It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more

STS-95 Launch: "Let the wings of Discovery lift us on to the future."

The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit. This was the United States' 123rd...more

Moon Found Orbiting Asteroid

A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more

U.S. is Fed Up with Russia

Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials want an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting to be...more

More on Recent Coronal Mass Ejection

A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun early last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. The SWICS instrument on ACE has produced a new and very...more

Mother Nature's Air Conditioning

J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service called forests the "heart and lungs of the world." This is because forests filter air and water pollution, absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and maintain...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA