|Purpose:||This project entitled « Cosmology from the Stratosphere: Gravitational waves and Gravitational lensing with Spider and SuperBIT » aims to develop and fly the Spider and SuperBIT telescopes. Spider will search for gravitational waves from moments after the Big Bang, providing a unique view of the early Universe. SuperBIT, by providing large images of distant galaxies with detail comparable to NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, will help to probe the distribution of dark matter through distortions in space caused by gravity.
Although the capabilities of current conventional balloon platforms provide some of the benefits of space- based observations, the unique combination of sub-arc second stability for long exposure and wide-field observations over nearly one hundred nights would represent a fundamentally new capability, and for astrophysics at optical wavelengths in general. SuperBIT will usher in an era of low-cost, frequent access to space-like observing conditions that will benefit a wide range of astronomy, astrophysics, and cosmology objectives.