Feeds

Italians put Pammy into orbit

Probing for anti-matter

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
What's that STINK? Rosetta probe shoves nose under comet's tail
Rotten eggs, horse dung and almonds – yuck
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Kip Thorne explains how he created the black hole for Interstellar
Movie special effects project spawns academic papers on gravitational lensing
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
Moment of truth for LOHAN's servos: Our US allies are poised for final test flight
Will Vulture 2 freeze at altitude? Edge Research Lab to find out
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.