The penultimate voyage of NASA’s fabled space shuttle program commences tomorrow afternoon, and inside the payload bay of the Space Shuttle Endeavour is a device whose data will affect future generations of astronauts to the final frontier.
The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, or AMS, is a device consisting of a two ton magnet and five detectors, that will be installed on the International Space Station. Scientists hope that the AMS will help them learn more about antimatter and dark matter. Spacecraft engineers, however, are eager to see how the powerful magnetic fields generated by the AMS repel harmful particles of cosmic radiation. The magnetic fields generated by the AMS act as a shield, deflecting any particles or rays that come near it, much in the same way the Earth’s magnetic field deflects cosmic radiation from harming the planet. The AMS will also measure the amount of cosmic energy and the type of radiation detected in space. In whole, the AMS will help provide scientists a better picture of the kind of environment astronauts will face on future explorations, and will help engineers design equipment that will adequately protect these astronauts from the potentially harsh radiation levels in space.
Article from Discovery: Device on Shuttle to Investigate Radiation Shield
More information about the AMS from NASA…