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Nasa: NASA to use a football stadium-sized balloon to lift the ‘successor’ to the Hubble telescope

A stadium-sized helium balloon will be used to lift the next telescope which Nasa and the Canadian space agency want to send into the upper layers of Earth’s atmosphere, according to a report by Gizmodo. The telescope would be the successor to the hubble telescope and is named on Overpressure Balloon Imaging Telescope or SuperBIT in short. It was designed by the University of Toronto, Princeton University and Durham University in England, in collaboration with NASA and the Canadian Space Agency, and is expected to launch from New Zealand in March 2022. The on-board telescope can stay in the stratosphere for weeks or even months.
Overpressure balloon imaging telescope: the goal
The main purpose of SuperBIT is “to provide insight into the distribution of dark matter in galaxy clusters and throughout the large-scale structure of the universe,” says an article from the University of Toronto’s website. . A helium balloon with a volume of 532,000 cubic meters will raise the SuperBIT 40 kilometers into the sky. It cost about $ 5 million to build the telescope. One of the perceived advantages of SuperBIT is its advantage of not being affected by weather changes like cloudy conditions at night or smog caused by a forest fire as it will be located in the stratosphere, above the troposphere, and therefore, will generally be clear and unaffected by weather conditions, as most meteorological activity takes place in the troposphere. The SuperBIT will charge using solar panels designed in its structure, image at night and thus go around the globe.
Overpressure balloon imaging telescope: why the need?
The report quotes SuperBIT team member Mohamed Shaaban as saying that the Hubble Telescope is aging and also oversubscribed, meaning it has more orders coming than it can finish. Hence the need for new telescopes that could support Hubble in observing space.
According to the report, a telescope with an optical system three times the size of SuperBIT is also in the works. It will be called GigaBIT and should undergo the first test flight in September 2022. The Euclid telescope by the European Space Agency is also slated for launch next year.

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