Balloon Mission to Eye Potential ‘Comet of the Century’
Scientists are working to loft science gear by balloon to observe the fast-approaching Comet ISON, which could be one of the brightest comets ever seen when it blazes through the inner solar system this fall.
The project, called Balloon Rapid Response for ISON (BRRISON), aims to get high-quality views of Comet ISON, which experts say could shine as brightly as the full moon when it makes its closest pass by the sun in late November.
The sky-high BRRISON project also hopes to demonstrate that important planetary science questions can be addressed with a balloon platform, researchers say. It will be the first planetary-science balloon mission since 1963, when a Stratoscope II balloon lifted off to observe planets, stars and galaxies. [Photos of Comet ISON in Night Sky]