Second cosmic ray detector delivered to International Space Station

Second cosmic ray detector delivered to International Space Station

The Experimental Magnetic Alpha Spectrometer (AMS-02), the most advanced detector in the field of particle physics, was installed on board the space station in 2011. Now a calorimetric electron telescope has appeared on it - a detector that will be used to measure high-energy cosmic rays.

In addition to several tons of food, water and equipment, the Japanese cargo ship arrived on Monday delivered an astrophysical telescope to the International Space Station, which will complement the functions of an advanced magnetic alpha spectrometer that measures the flux of charged particles in cosmic rays.

On Tuesday, the calorimetric electron telescope, or Calet, will have to be attached outside the Kibo Japanese laboratory next to a $ 2 billion magnetic alpha spectrometer installed at the station in 2011.

After commissioning, Calet will accurately measure the flow of charged particles in cosmic rays with a higher energy than the magnetic alpha spectrometer. “Cosmic rays continuously flow from all sides ... Every time a high-energy cosmic ray arrives, the device starts up and fixes it,” said astrophysicist John Wefel from Louisiana State University in an interview with NASA TV.

Ground-based instruments can only indirectly detect cosmic rays by measuring secondary particles that are formed at the time when the rays fall into the atmosphere. By studying the cosmic rays directly in space, scientists hope to achieve a deeper understanding of their origin, nature, and why they have so much energy.

Cosmic rays can also shed light on the so-called “dark matter”, which, unlike ordinary matter, does not emit electromagnetic radiation and does not interact with it. Dark matter, which consists of about 27% of the Universe, can only be detected indirectly by studying the effect of its gravity on the nearest space objects.

Substance, as a form of matter, is less than 5% of the universe. The rest of the universe, about 68%, consists of a mysterious anti-gravity force, known as dark energy. While the magnetic alpha spectrometer can detect electrons, protons, nuclei and antimatter in a large energy range, Calet is designed to study only high-energy electrons.

“Calet was created to solve many astrophysical issues associated with high energy, such as the origin of cosmic rays, their acceleration and spread throughout the galaxy, the existence of dark matter, the nearest sources of cosmic rays,” said NASA. this program.

It is expected that the telescope, which will be installed outside the station, will last for five years. Next year, a third astrophysical observatory will be launched, known as the cosmic ray energy and mass detector for the International Space Station, or ISS-CREAM.

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