Editor’s note:These brief extracts are paraphrased from live webcast and may not be fully correct.

Presentation by Professor S. Schael. 

Download the full presentation:The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer Experiment on ISS – An endeavor for a Global Research Collaboration

  • A mesmerising video on AMS-02 production, 16 years shown in 3 minutes:[youtube jcBTfTScl_M]
  •   What is AMS? “The Space Station crown jewel” consists of several instruments assembled at CERN in Geneva and tested at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands.
  • Our view of the Universe is only made possible through space research. Four questions remain. If we can answer these questions we will have a complete picture of the universe.
  • But what does this have to do with Earth’s real problems such as creating energy from the Sun? Solar cells rely on semiconductors that rely on Max Plank’s discoveries of fundamental physics
  • Sustainable development is based on research on fundamental physic research. 90% of the Universe is made out of matter we cannot see and know nothing about, so called ‘dark matter’. What will we able to do if we know more about this matter? Prof. Schael has no idea but is sure that something good will come out of it, just as Max Plank could not forsee his discoveries leading to the internet.
  • AMS has a magnet, so strong NASA scientists were unable to test its breaking point, they gave up before it broke down. AMS has many instruments to measure mass, electric charge and polarity of particles. Due to the redundancy of the instruments AMS can self-calibrate by cross-checking results between different instruments.
  • Measurements are extremely precise, for example one instrument can measure down to a tenth of the diameter of a human hair.
  • AMS-02’s future was uncertain at 2005 but after strong international support agreement was reached to send it to the Space Station after all.
  • The final AMS-02 was tested and calibrated at CERN using particles of which the characteristics were known. AMS-02 passed the test and was shipped to the Launchpad of STS-134 on Shuttle Endeavour. The launch date was May 16 2011
  • Four hours after installation AMS was already delivering data.
  • “AMS is working perfectly, just as we designed it over 15 years ago”. Every year we will collect 16 billion cosmic arrays providing unprecedented data.
  • AMS has recorded events such as a recent solar flare influencing helium particles. This data allows us to predict the amount of radiation that astronauts will absorb on a mission to Mars.
  • AMS has to cope with changes in temperature and ISS cargo ships approaching and docking.
  • AMS-02 is searching for local sources of high energy protons. Its most exciting objective is to probe the unkown.
  • Some people call AMS the Hubble space telescope of charged particles. Five missions were sent to upgrade Hubble, we could already think of how to upgrade AMS-02.