ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano will soon take part in several challenging spacewalks to service the International Space Station’s largest scientific instrument.
The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) is a sub-atomic particle detector that looks for dark matter, antimatter and measures cosmic rays - high energy particles that travel through space at close to the speed of light.
The AMS took 16 countries nearly 20 years to develop. It was assembled at CERN, tested at ESA’s ESTEC facility in The Netherlands and installed on the Space Station in 2011. Since then it has collected over 145 billion cosmic ray events across a range of energy levels and has already provided the first insights into potential antimatter and dark matter.
The maintenance of the AMS’ cooling system will ensure it can continue to provide more data and groundbreaking science. This film contains soundbites from the instrument’s Principal Investigator, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Professor Samuel Ting (MIT/CERN).