Feeds

Italians put Pammy into orbit

Probing for anti-matter

High performance access to file storage

Tomorrow will see the launch of Pamela, a satellite designed to seek out evidence of dark matter and anti-matter in cosmic rays.

Pamela (Payload for Anti-matter Matter Exploration and Light-nuclei Astrophysics) is a joint project between the Italian and Russian space agencies, with contributions from their equivalents in Germany and Sweden.

The satellite, described as a "parallelepipedon 1.3 metres tall", will spend three years in a quasi-polar elliptic orbit between 300 and 600 kilometres from the ground. The Italian Space Agency (ASI) says the satellite will measure flux, energy, and characteristics of galactic, interplanetary, and solar cosmic rays at a new level of precision.

The main instrument, which weighs in at nearly 500kg, is essentially a large magnet with a variety of detectors attached, capable of identifying the particles in the cosmic rays, their trajectories and their energies, all of which help to understand their origins.

Piegiorgio Picozza, director of the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) section of Tor Vergata, described the satellite as "the most advanced instrument for this field of astrophysics".

Matter than we can see accounts for just five per cent of the universe. The remaining 95 per cent is theorised to be composed of around 25 per cent dark matter and 70 per cent dark energy.

Anti-matter, meanwhile, exists only in tiny quantities, although matter and anti-matter are thought to have existed in roughly equal quantities at the time of the Big Bang.

Since the two types of matter anihilate each other on contact, this poses a problem: why is there so much more normal matter hanging around in the form of planets and stars? What is the difference between the two kinds of matter? Researchers at ASI and the Russian Space Agency hope that Pamela will shed some light on these mysteries.

The launch is slated for 11:00am local time on 15 June from the cosmodrome of Baikonur, in Kazakhstan. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
Get your MOON GEAR: Auction to feature Space Race memorabilia
Keepsakes from early NASA, Soviet programs up for bids
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.