The vertical intensity of the hard component of cosmic rays was measured at different altitudes with a threefold coincidence counter tube arrangement. Measurements were taken with and without a graphite layer above the counters in order to compare the absorption of the hard component in air and in carbon. The counting rate observed under a given mass of air-plus-carbon was found to be considerably larger than the rate observed under the same mass of air alone. We interpret the difference as due to the spontaneous decay of the mesotrons which form the hard component of cosmic rays.
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