Feeds

Italians put Pammy into orbit

Probing for anti-matter

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
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.