SuperTIGER (Trans-Iron Galactic Element Recorder) is a balloon-borne instrument designed to study the origin of cosmic rays. In December 2012 through January 2013 it had a record-breaking 55 day flight over Antarctica. SuperTIGER will make its second flight from McMurdo Base, Antarctica in December 2017.

This past week Newton helped support this project by providing structural analysis at NASA Goddard. This project is a joint collaboration of Washington University in St. Louis, Goddard Space Flight Center, California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Lab, and the University of Minnesota.

According to Washington University’s Department of Physics website, “Cosmic rays are one of the best ways to directly study matter that originated outside of our solar system. However, by the time the cosmic rays reach us, the magnetic fields they have passed through have entirely distorted the original flight path and it is impossible to determine where the cosmic ray originated…By measuring the quantity of each element in the cosmic rays, we gain information about where it could have originated.” By studying cosmic rays, it helps to better understand the fundamental nature of the universe.

Photo courtesy of Super TIGER