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.
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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!?
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