Back in the 1940s, when Brookhaven Lab was just in its infancy, scientists here collaborated with the Office of Naval Research and several universities around the country on experiments to measure cosmic rays.
Their flying laboratories were part of Project Apollo, which used specially modified B-29s and hot-air balloons loaded with cloud chambers and other instruments to measure the ionizing particles that originate from outside the Solar System and flood the Earth day and night. These instrument-laden flights would take readings both near the ground and up into the stratosphere, everywhere from the Panama Canal to the Arctic.
Sometimes I just browse through the archives at the Lab and I find the coolest story I never knew about. Cloud chambers? B-29s? Sweater-vest-wearing scientists? It’s all so wonderful.