Posted by Lydia on May 18th, 2011
Endeavour arrived at the International Space Station this morning on its twelfth and final visit serenaded by the Space Station crew ringing the on board welcoming bell. The main goal of Endeavor’s journey is the installation of the 7-ton Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer which will begin beaming information on the presence of dark and anti matter withing two hours of activation. About the size of a bus, costing two billion dollars, the AMS uses a magnet to detect cosmic ray particles which will then be analysed for the presence of antimatter and other particles. The entire project was cancelled in October 2005 after the Columbia accident in 2003, however after review by the National Academy of Sciences, Nobel Laureates, and all countries involved, the AMS was deemed of such importance that NASA agreed to find another transporter.
The AMS project is chaired by its principle investigator: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Nobel Laureate Samuel Ting.
On return from its sixteen day mission, Endeavor will be showcased at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Space shuttle Atlantis will be displayed at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida, Discovery will go on display at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia; and the Enterprise will find its new home at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York. Enterprise is considered the Shuttle test vehicle and was never launched.