Home LATEST NEWS A NASA research balloon flew over the Canadian Far North

A NASA research balloon flew over the Canadian Far North


From the ground, it looks like a second moon floating in the sky, but make no mistake, it’s more of a research balloon the size of a football stadium. Recently, it passed over Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, where it caused a lot of talk in some of the communities it flew over.

XL-Calibur, as it is called, was launched from Kiruna, Sweden, and is the result of the work of American, Japanese and Swedish scientists. Its purpose is to measure X-rays emanating from black holes and neutron stars.

His wanderings stretched over 6 days, 7 hours and 45 minutes and they were possible thanks to a collaboration between NASA, the University of Washington in Saint Louis (WUSTL) and the Royal Institute of Technology KTH, in Sweden.

A white and red parachute posed in a clearing, a white apparatus is posed not far.

The XL-Calibur telescope and parachute, seen here, landed near Délı̨nę, NWT on Monday, about 20 miles from where the balloon touched down.

Photo: SuperTigerLDB/Twitter

On a Twitter account dedicated to the ball were posted photos taken by the public in Norway, Iceland as well as Arviat and Iqaluit, Nunavut. According to Richard Bose, an engineering researcher at WUSTLXL-Calibur also passed over Yellowknife before touching down about 80 kilometers from the community of Délı̨nę on Monday.

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He claims NASA made the decision to terminate the flight, a process that involves opening a hole in the balloon for it to fall from an altitude of almost 40,000 meters to an altitude of 15,240 meters. Subsequently, the balloon and the telescope it was carrying were separated, and the latter landed on the ground using a parachute.

He just dodged a few trees and didn’t fall into a lake, which was our biggest fear., says Richard Bose, who was part of the team that built the telescope. He adds that the water could have damaged the rare and expensive mirrors inside the device.

NASA Communications Officer Jeremy Eggers says the polythene film balloon touched down nearly 20 kilometers from the payload and a team was dispatched to recover the three parts.

Jeremy Eggers explains that before ending a flight, NASA’s science balloon team conducts a survey to ensure public safety, minimize environmental impacts and ensure they can salvage as much material as possible possible.

NASA considers environmental impacts on all science balloon missions and takes steps to mitigate themhe wrote in an email, adding that the organization worked with Canadian officials to coordinate the flight and landing location of XL-Calibur.

Jeremy Eggers specifies that the work of the balloon was mainly directed towards a black hole called Cygnus X1 and which particularly intrigues scientists, since it sucks the gases from a star which is nearby.

Black holes are really very mysterious objects and, of course, you can’t really tell what’s going on inside them, since no light escapes from them. says Jeremy Eggers, adds, however, that scientists can study what is happening near these black holes, like something very intense which generates X-rays near Cygnus X1.

In the spirit of exploring and understanding what is happening in our universe, this is a piece of basic research that we are fortunate to be able to fund.

With information from Liny Lamberink

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