NASA will use the GUSTO aerostat telescope to create a 3D map of the Milky Way

NASA is preparing for an experiment called GUSTO (Galactic / Extragalactic ULDB Spectroscopic Terahertz Observatory). As part of it, scientists plan to collect data that will be used to create a 3D map of a part of the Milky Way, writes The Verge.

During the experiment, experts will use a telescope that will float on a balloon over Antarctica. All this will take place at an altitude of almost 37 km and will last at least 55 days.

Experts will track high-frequency radio waves that seep through the cosmic interstellar medium. They will be looking for traces of carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen in the hope of finding clues as to how stars and planets form.

According to NASA, the balloon telescope will launch from the Antarctic McMurdo station “no earlier than December 21.”

GUSTO is not the only scientific instrument that works on a similar principle. The agency has been using balloons to launch payloads for over 30 years.