UBC's SPIDER telescope launches

Quite the adventure for these folks. And a very cool (ha!) experiment.

SPIDER will attempt to find patterns of polarizations that could have only been made in primordial light in the fractions of a second after the Big Bang.

If it finds these patterns, “it would be a smoking gun of how the universe began,” Halpern said on CBC’s On The Coast.
...
The telescope weighs about the same as a Ford Explorer and is attached to an inflatable helium balloon that is roughly the the size of a professional hockey arena. It will remain airborne for 20 days at an altitude of 36 kilometres, cruising on the circumpolar winds that circle the coast of Antarctica.
— http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/ubc-s-spider-telescope-launches-seeking-big-bang-s-light-patterns-1.2888861