Space detector prepares to scour universe for secrets (Update)

Aug 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: SpaceX picks up launch pace, sets April 27 commercial launch and May 5 Dragon pad abort test

Related Stories

AMS experiment embarks on first leg of mission into space

Feb 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

Feb 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 ...

In Search of Antimatter Galaxies

Aug 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 ...

Giant atom-smasher set to restart this weekend: CERN

Nov 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.

Recommended for you

Zapping away space junk

1 hour ago

Planet Earth is surrounded. Thousands of tons of dangerous space debris circle in low orbit, threatening serious damage, even death, if any were to strike the International Space Station. A proposal by a ...

Ariane 5's first launch of 2015

3 hours ago

An Ariane 5 has lifted off from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana and delivered two telecom satellites into their planned orbits.

User comments : 0

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.