The project was named ASTHROS, short for Astrophysics Stratospheric Telescope. The air balloon, the size of which will reach 150 meters when filled, will be launched from the territory of Antarctica approximately in 2023.
The telescope will have to capture wavelengths from the stratosphere that are currently not visible from Earth in order to measure the movement and speed of gas around the newly formed stars. Four main targets were outlined for the mission, among them two star-forming regions in the Milky Way.
ASTHROS will also create the first detailed 3D maps of density, velocity and gas movement in star-forming regions to see how newborn stars affect their surroundings.
NASA experts noted that while balloons may seem like the “past century” compared to current technology, they have a number of advantages. They do not need fuel and can be quickly prepared for flight.
“With ASTHROS we intend to make astrophysical observations that have never been done before. The mission will pave the way for future space travel, testing new technologies and training the next generation of engineers and scientists, ”said representatives of the space agency.
Earlier it was reported that NASA plans to send a Martian meteorite back to the Red Planet. It has already been loaded aboard the Perseverance rover.
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