AMS heads for the International Space Station

AMS and Space ShuttleThe AMS particle detector is a CERN experiment and, in the usual CERN tradition, a collaboration between about 600 researches from several CERN member states (Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland) as well as from China, Korea, Mexico, Taiwan, and the United-States.

On April the 29th the detector will take off for space.

Below are some extracts from the official announcement.

The AMS particle detector will take off on 29 April 2011 at 21.47 CEST onboard the very last mission of the space Shuttle Endeavour. AMS, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, will then be installed on the International Space Station from where it will explore the Universe for a period of over 10 years. AMS will address some of the most exciting mysteries of modern physics, looking for antimatter and dark matter in space, phenomena that have remained elusive up to now.

In the same way that telescopes catch the light from the stars to better understand the Universe, AMS is a particle detector that will track incoming charged particles such as protons, electrons and atomic nuclei that constantly bombard our planet. By studying the flux of these cosmic rays with very high precision, AMS will have the sensitivity to identify a single antinucleus among a billion other particles.

AMS may also bring an important contribution to the search for the mysterious dark matter that would account for about 25% of the total mass-energy balance of the Universe. In particular, if dark matter is composed of supersymmetric particles, AMS could detect it indirectly by recording an anomaly in the flux of cosmic rays.

The full press release can be read by following this link. The launch of AMS can be followed live via webcast at: http://webcast.cern.ch.

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