NASA's 'superpressure' balloons may be the next era of space cameras

NASA has developed a 'superpressure' balloon that may be a cheap alternative for a space telescope with Hubble-level quality.

1 minute & 2 seconds read time

NASA has created a new type of balloon that could be a cheap alternative to launching new space telescopes.

The project is being headed by a team of researchers from Durham, Toronto, and Princeton Universities and is named the Superpressure Balloon-born Imaging telescope or SuperBIT for short. So, what is this balloon, and why is it impactful? The SuperBIT balloon is the size of a football field, and when filled with helium, it raises the equipped .5m telescope to 24 miles altitude, where it then will be above 99.5% of Earth's atmosphere.

It's important that the telescope is above the majority of Earth's atmosphere as clouds and other weather patterns can interfere with pictures and general observations. NASA recently created a "superpressure" balloon that can contain helium for months, which would allow the space telescope to maintain altitude for an extended period of time and thus enable astronomers to snap delicious images of the cosmos.

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The telescope that SuperBIT is equipped with isn't very impressive. However, it can capture images that are close to the same quality as the Hubble Space Telescope. Additionally, SuperBIT is a much more affordable alternative as it only costs $5 million in total for the design of the balloon and launch. If you are interested in reading more about this new form of space telescope, check out this link here.

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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