The STS-134 / ULF6 – AMS is scheduled to launch on May 16, 2011 at 8:56 AM Eastern by NASA.
What is this mission’s mission?
The AMS-02 experiment is a state-of-the-art particle physics detector being constructed, tested and operated by an international team composed of 56 institutes from 16 countries and organized under United States Department of Energy (DOE) sponsorship. The JSC project office oversees and directs the overall payload integration activities and ensures that the payload is safe and ready for launch on the Space Shuttle and deployment onto the ISS. The AMS Experiment will use the unique environment of space to advance knowledge of the universe and lead to the understanding of the universe’s origin.
What is this “state-of-the-art particle physics detector”?
I am not a total expert on the matter but from what I’ve learned so far, it’s basically a device that will be able to collect information from stars and galaxies “million light years” beyond the Milky Way, which is our galaxy.
Some might think this has nothing to do with human life but there’s proof that these technologies can help humans as evidenced by Proton Therapy, which is a particle accelerator (basically) that can cure cancer.
Hey who knows, this state-of-the-art particle physics detector might be one day used to diagnosing illnesses in human body.
Here’s the more detailed info:
The experiment (Figure 3) utilizes a large permanent magnet to produce a strong, uniform magnetic field (~0.14 Tesla) over a large volume of ~1m3. The magnetic field is used to bend the path of charged cosmic particles as they pass through five different types of detectors. The Transition Radiation Detector (TRD) measures particles passing at speeds nearly that of the speed of light. The Time of Flight (TOF) measures the charge and velocity of passing particles. The Silicon Tracker measures the coordinates of charged particles in the magnetic field. The Ring Image Cerenkov Counter (RICH) measures both the velocity and charge of the particles and the Electromagnetic Calorimeter (ECAL) measures the energy and coordinates of electrons, positrons and gamma rays. Figure 1 shows the AMS detector and its response to different particles or nuclei. The AMS also employs two star trackers and a GPS system. With over 300,000 data channels, the detector gathers an extremely large amount of data which is then processed and sent to Earth utilizing the ISS power, communication and data infrastructure.
Anyways, this is very interesting, I will be watching this in 5 days at launch, we will have a live video on our site so make sure to check back!