Space detector prepares to scour universe for secrets (Update)

August 25, 2010
The European Organisation for Nuclear Research's (CERN) Alpha Magnetics Spectrometer (AMS), is loaded onto a US Air Force C-5 Galaxy cargo plane at Geneva's internatioal airport. The huge physics detector that will scour outer space for clues to the origins of the universe began the first stage of its voyage to the International Space Station at Geneva airport.

A huge physics detector that will scour outer space for clues to the origins of the universe began the first stage of its voyage to the International Space Station at Geneva airport on Wednesday.

The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) loaded the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) onto a giant C5 Galaxy US military transport plane, which will fly it to the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida on Thursday.

"The AMS left the research centre on Tuesday and was loaded onto an aircraft specially sent by the US air force on Wednesday," CERN spokesman James Gillies told AFP.

The AMS detector is due to reach the space station on the last US Space Shuttle mission towards the end of February 2011, he added.

The AMS is meant to complement attempts by the world's biggest atom smasher at CERN, the Large Hadron Collider, to unravel some of the secrets of the creation of the universe and add to its scientific data.

The detector's main target is the search for and antimatter, two of the mysterious missing links in human knowledge of the universe and life on earth.

The AMS "must notably find where antimatter came from", Gillies explained, by searching for stars in far flung galaxies that scientists believe to be entirely made of .

Under the theoretical standard laws of physics, for every type of ordinary particle -- matter -- a corresponding "antiparticle" exists.

Despite the huge precautions and scientific precision surrounding the experiment, loading was delayed on Wednesday because of trouble squeezing the container into the aircraft.

The top of the container was eventually removed and covered with plastic to fit into the plane, said.

Explore further: Clemson astronomers to study mysterious antimatter in the Milky Way

Related Stories

In Search of Antimatter Galaxies

August 17, 2009

NASA's space shuttle program is winding down. With only about half a dozen more flights, shuttle crews will put the finishing touches on the International Space Station (ISS), bringing to an end twelve years of unprecedented ...

Giant atom-smasher set to restart this weekend: CERN

November 20, 2009

The world's biggest atom-smasher, which was shut down soon after its inauguration amid technical faults, is set to restart this weekend, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research said on Friday.

AMS experiment embarks on first leg of mission into space

February 12, 2010

The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) left CERN this morning on the first leg of its journey to the International Space Station (ISS). A special convoy carrying the experiment is due to arrive at the European Space Agency’s ...

Dark matter detective arrives at ESTEC

February 17, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- One of the most exciting scientific instruments ever built, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), arrived at ESA's Test Centre in the Netherlands for testing before being launched on the Space Shuttle to ...

Space Station to Receive New Anti-Matter Detector Component

April 27, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientist plan on replacing the liquid helium cooled magnet, in the anti-matter detector, with an Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. This will increase the life span of the detector from 3 years to about 18 years.

Recommended for you

At Saturn, one of these rings is not like the others

September 2, 2015

When the sun set on Saturn's rings in August 2009, scientists on NASA's Cassini mission were watching closely. It was the equinox—one of two times in the Saturnian year when the sun illuminates the planet's enormous ring ...

New Horizons team selects potential Kuiper Belt flyby target

August 29, 2015

NASA has selected the potential next destination for the New Horizons mission to visit after its historic July 14 flyby of the Pluto system. The destination is a small Kuiper Belt object (KBO) known as 2014 MU69 that orbits ...

Prawn Nebula: Cosmic recycling

September 2, 2015

Dominating this image is part of the nebula Gum 56, illuminated by the hot bright young stars that were born within it. For millions of years stars have been created out of the gas in this nebula, material which is later ...

Image: Hubble sees a youthful cluster

August 31, 2015

Shown here in a new image taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) on board the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is the globular cluster NGC 1783. This is one of the biggest globular clusters in the Large Magellanic ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.