Feeds

Endeavour crawls to Kennedy launch pad

Leisurely prelude to ISS mission to plonk down antimatter-detection kit

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Space shuttle Endeavour this morning complete its leisurely 3.4-mile journey from Kennedy Space Center's Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39A, ahead of its scheduled STS-134 mission launch on 19 April.

The Endeavour crew. Pic: NASANASA has provided the traditional cheery photo of the Endeavour crew, which shows commander Mark Kelly at bottom centre and, clockwise, pilot Gregory H. Johnson, and mission specialists Michael Fincke, Greg Chamitoff, Andrew Feustel and the European Space Agency’s Roberto Vittori.

During the 14-day mission, Endeavour will deliver "the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) and spare parts including two S-band communications antennas, a high-pressure gas tank, additional spare parts for Dextre and micrometeoroid debris shields".

The AMS is described as "a state-of-the-art particle physics detector" which "will use the unique environment of space to advance knowledge of the universe and lead to the understanding of the universe's origin by searching for antimatter, dark matter and measuring cosmic rays".

The AMS. Pic: NASASpecifically, the AMS (pictured) is tasked with sniffing out antihelium nuclei, something which "would provide evidence for the existence of antimatter".

During its nominal mission of three years, it will monitor cosmic radiation to provide vital data on just how to protect astronauts on long interplanetary trips.

The device may answer the question of whether the theoretical strangelet particle actually exists. NASA describes the "extraordinary" blend of u, d and s quarks as potentially "a totally new form of matter".

It'll also be keeping an eye out for the "neutralino" - another theoretical particle which is among the candidates for dark matter.

NASA enthuses that the spectrometer will run "24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year" capturing data at a rate "equivalent to filling a 1 Gigabyte USB memory stick every second!" ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.