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NASA - In Search of Antimatter Galaxies

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posted on Aug, 15 2009 @ 08:21 AM

August 14, 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 orbital construction. The icon and workhorse of the American space program will have finished its Great Task.

But, as Apple's CEO Steve Jobs might say, there is one more thing...

An act of Congress in 2008 added another flight to the schedule near the end of the program. Currently scheduled for 2010, this extra flight of the shuttle is going to launch a hunt for antimatter galaxies.

The device that does the actual hunting is called the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer--or AMS for short. It's a $1.5 billion cosmic ray detector that the shuttle will deliver to the ISS.

How exciting! All manner of exotic particles and matter are going to be hunted for:

In addition to sensing distant galaxies made entirely of antimatter, the AMS will also test leading theories of dark matter, an invisible and mysterious substance that comprises 83 percent of the matter in the universe. And it will search for strangelets, a theoretical form of matter that's ultra-massive because it contains so-called strange quarks. Better understanding of strangelets will help scientists to study microquasars and tiny, primordial blacks holes as they evaporate, thus proving whether these small black holes even exist.

Link to story

An interview with Samuel Ting, MIT physicist and inventor of the AMS:

BBC News - Samuel Ting, with a photo of the AMS

What is the AMS and what was it designed to do? Read more about the AMS here

AMS homepage (no, it doesn't have a FACEBOOK................. yet

[edit on 15/8/09 by argentus]

posted on Aug, 15 2009 @ 09:02 AM
Shouldn't they focus more on near earth orbit comets, asteroids and such?

Wasn't there a story recently about how they can't find funding for something that would have a much larger "impact" (forgive the pun) on the rest of the planet?

Just a thought. . .

posted on Aug, 15 2009 @ 04:01 PM
reply to post by mikerussellus

That's an excellent point Mike.
Study of which "zone" of space will most benefit the Terran species as a whole. Near Space? I'm inclined to agree with you. Little ice/rockballs slip in undetected frequently.

I have a notion that this project has been in the works for a fairly long time, such that -- I don't know what to call it -- project senority? Plus, the possible amount of data and theory that might be confirmed (or not).... it seems to me like it has the potential to reward ... deep truths about the states of matter and particles.

Any one of these things could be the edge of the envelope -- ideas that propel us kicking and screaming to the next level of evolution.

posted on Aug, 15 2009 @ 10:47 PM
You know, an antimatter galaxies would be indistinguishable. You probably wouldn't even notice it.

I enjoy thinking of a race made of antimatter, and even coming into atmospheric contact with them leads to disaster.

Imagine that. First contact, we're both friendly, but we don't notice that they're anti matter.

Freaking good sci fi story.

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