NASA

Trying to send something to space by attaching it to a balloon and letting go sounds like a plan concocted by a six-year-old.

In fact, we re pretty sure a lot of you tried it back in the day, only to witness your probe snag on a tree branch fifteen feet up.

Along for the ride is the Compton Spectrometer and Imager COSI , a gamma-ray telescope developed by scientists at UC Berkeley.

There are work-arounds, like launching from Antarctica during its summer when the sunlight is constant, but infrastructure issues alone mean that the southernmost continent is never going to be the ideal place to set up shop.

Balloons are cheap.

Plus, launching a balloon requires a lot less red tape than firing a rocket, shaving years off the prep time required for each mission.

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