dirty south

I was pretty impressed with myself for getting as far south as the Bahamas a few years ago, but my friend Lauren has got me beat.

He’s in the final stretch of a stint in Antarctica, working on TIGER:

The Trans-Iron Galactic Element Recorder (TIGER) is a balloon borne instrument designed to measure the elemental abundances of Galactic Cosmic Rays. Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCRs) are energetic atomic nuclei that originate from outside our solar system and are believed to be accelerated by exploding stars (supernova) to extremely high energies. These nuclei have been detected and measured at earth by a variety of ground, balloon-borne and space experiments.

GCRs are of particular interest to the astrophysics community since they are one of only two types of matter that can be directly sampled from outside the solar system (the other is extra-solar dust grains found in certain meteorites). They serve as a probe of the galactic cosmic ray source and the interstellar medium within our galaxy.

Sounds pretty cool, and completely over my head. Unbeknownst to me, this entire time, he’s been keeping a journal. Check it out. It makes for some interesting reading.