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Nasa science balloon breaks longest flight record

Published on Feb 5, 2013 8:35 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - After more than 55 days flying over Antarctica, Nasa's huge Super-TIGER scientific balloon has broken the record for the longest flight of its kind, bringing back a wealth of data, the United States space agency said on Monday.

The Super-TIGER balloon spent 55 days, one hour and 34 minutes aloft at an altitude of 38,710m, beating the old record set in 2009 by just over a day.

It was gathering data on the high energy cosmic rays that hit the Earth from elsewhere in the galaxy. That process included the use of a new tool to measure rare elements heavier than iron among the influx of rays.

Scientists are looking to better understand where these high energy atoms come from and how they get so super-charged.

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