Inside the magnet - Photo Credit: AMS-02 Collaboration
The AMS detector heads for the International Space Station
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 laboratories like CERN, physicists observe matter and antimatter behaving in an almost identical way. Each matter particle has an equivalent antiparticle, very similar but with opposite charge. When particles of matter and antimatter meet, they annihilate. Matter and antimatter would have been created in equal amounts at the Big Bang, yet today we live in a Universe apparently made entirely of matter. Does nature have a preference for matter over antimatter? One of the main challenges of AMS will be to address this question by searching for single nuclei of antimatter that would signal the existence of large amounts of antimatter elsewhere in the Universe. To achieve this, AMS will track cosmic rays from outer space with unprecedented sensitivity.
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 is the result of a large international collaboration with a major European participation. It is led by Nobel laureate Samuel Ting and involves about 600 researchers from 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.
Information about AMS