Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Pamela goes to Space: it will explore antimatter and dark matter to unravel the mysteries of the universe

13.06.2006
Searching for antimatter and dark matter in Space: this is Pamela’s mission. Pamela will be launched into orbit on June 15th from the cosmodrome of Baikonur, in Kazakhstan. The launch will take place at 11.00 am local time ( 6.00 am Italian time).

Pamela, (Payload for Antimatter Matter Exploration and Light-nuclei Astrophysics) will stay in Space for at least three years, on a quasi-polar elliptic orbit between 300 and 600 kilometres from the ground. Pamela is the result of a collaboration among Russian research institutes, Russian Space Agency and the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics, with the participation of Italian Space Agency and the contribution of German and Swedish space agencies and universities.

Antimatter and dark matter are some of the most controversial and fascinating issues that modern physics is facing. Actually, today we know that 5% only of the universe is constituted of the matter which is familiar to us, that is to say the one made up of protons, neutrons end electrons. It is estimated that 70% of what exists in the cosmos is constituted of an invisible and homogenous substance called “dark energy”. The remaining 25% would be instead composed of dark matter, constituted of particles which are very different from ordinary matter. These particles, still unknown under certain respects, don’t aggregate in celestial bodies. Antimatter is very rare in our universe, but according to the most reliable theories, after the Big Bang there was the same amount of antimatter and matter. Afterward, matter and antimatter would have been annihilated almost at once in a burst of energy. Surprisingly, a very little percentage of matter was left over from this process: such a small quantity of matter now forms stars, planets, ourselves and everything we know. If the amount of antimatter was the same as the amount of matter, why did only a part of matter remain? What is the difference between the two? Casting light on these questions will be part of the challenges that Pamela is going to face into Space. But how will it do it?

Pamela will investigate on dark matter and antimatter by studying cosmic rays: energetic particles of different nature coming from Space and carrying important information on the cosmic source that generated them, and as a consequence, on its origin and evolution. In particular Pamela will measure flux, energy and characteristics of galactic, interplanetary and solar cosmic rays with a precision never reached before.

The instrument is nearly 500 kilos, its dimensions are the ones of a parallelepipedon 1.3 metres tall with a square base whose side is 75 centimetres long. It is essentially composed of a large magnet equipped with a remarkable number of detectors which can identify the particles that cosmic rays are made up of, can trace their trajectories and measure their energy. Finally, sophisticated electronic devices for detectors’ reading, equipment management, and connection with communication systems of the satellite complete the apparatus.

Thanks to the sophisticated equipment of Pamela, it will be possible for the first time to make long period observations, avoiding atmosphere interference, with which cosmic rays interact. Only instruments settled on stratospheric balloon, and once also on the Space Shuttle, traced this kind of data, but only for a short period.

“The launch of Pamela is a very exciting moment for the whole collaboration. It represents the crowning achievement of long years of study realized by a large number of researchers, mainly young. At the moment, Pamela is the most advanced instrument for this field of astrophysics. When Pamela will get into orbit, the second and most amazing part of its scientific adventure will begin, with the aim of discovering some of the most intriguing and complex mysteries of the universe” says Piegiorgio Picozza, director of Inf section of Tor Vergata, who coordinated the activity of Infn sections of Florence, Naples, Trieste, Bari, National Laboratories of Frascati, and of the international collaboration.

Simonetta Di Pippo, director of the Observation of the universe department at Italian Space Agency and actual president of the joined committee Asi/Infn, comments on the forthcoming launch: “Pamela is inserted in a very rich set of experiments and mission at Asi. This is a strategic line outlined in the National Aerospace Plan which intends to study high energy particles using the most powerful accelerator we have: our universe. I am talking about Swift, in orbit since a year and a half with a very strong contribution of Asi. And I am talking about the Ams observatory , which is the result of a collaboration with several countries. Amongst them Italy, with Asi and Infn, has a very important position. We have a strong synergy with Infn: we also collaborated for Glast, the Nasa observatory that will be launched next year. In this project Italy contributed with the 16 silicon towers of Lat (Large Area Telescope), again with Infn. A very important and surely successful collaboration. We expect many important results from the Pamela mission”.

Piergiorgio Picozza | alfa
Further information:
http://www.roma2.infn.it
http://www.infn.it

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Climate cycles may explain how running water carved Mars' surface features
02.12.2016 | Penn State

nachricht What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?
02.12.2016 | University of Toronto

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>