Collin Arocho
10 September 2020

A few months after announcing the shipment of the first terahertz detector array for NASA’s upcoming Gusto mission, the Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON) has announced that the final two flight arrays have passed their pre-shipment reviews and are on the way to the University of Arizona. With the completion of all three arrays, which were developed by SRON and Delft University of Technology, Gusto’s flight detector is now finished and heading for integration before launch, slated to take place in December 20201 from Antarctica.

Gusto array
Credit: SRON

NASA’s Galactic/extragalactic ULDB Spectroscopic Terahertz Observatory (Gusto) is a balloon observatory that will drift in the earth’s atmosphere for over 75 days, at the edge of space (36 km altitude). The observatory consists of a telescope of one meter in diameter and three observation instruments carried by an ultra-long duration balloon (ULDB). It contains the three Dutch-developed array receivers for electromagnetic radiation of 1.4, 1.9 and 4.7 THz, which will be used to measure the emission lines of ionized nitrogen (NII), carbon (CII) and oxygen (OI) in the spectrum of the interstellar medium – the material floating in between stars – helping scientists determine the life cycle of interstellar gas in the Milky Way, witness the formation and destruction of star-forming clouds and understand the dynamics and gas flow in the vicinity of the center of the galaxy.