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The Riddle of AntiMatter

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The Riddle of AntiMatter

Explores one of the deepest mysteries about the origin of our universe. According to standard theory, the early moments of the universe were marked by the explosive contact between subatomic particles of opposite charge. Featuring short interviews with Masaki Hori, Tokyo University and Jeffrey Hangst, Aarhus University.

Scientists are now focusing their most powerful technologies on an effort to figure out exactly what happened. Our understanding of cosmic history hangs on the question: how did matter as we know it survive? And what happened to its birth twin, its opposite, a mysterious substance known as antimatter?

A crew of astronauts is making its way to a launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Little noticed in the publicity surrounding the close of this storied program is the cargo bolted into Endeavor’s hold. It’s a science instrument that some hope will become one of the most important scientific contributions of human space flight.

It’s a kind of telescope, though it will not return dazzling images of cosmic realms long hidden from view, the distant corners of the universe, or the hidden structure of black holes and exploding stars.

Unlike the great observatories that were launched aboard the shuttle, it was not named for a famous astronomer, like Hubble, or the Chandra X-ray observatory.

The instrument, called the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, or AMS. The promise surrounding this device is that it will enable scientists to look at the universe in a completely new way.

Most telescopes are designed to capture photons, so-called neutral particles reflected or emitted by objects such as stars or galaxies. AMS will capture something different: exotic particles and atoms that are endowed with an electrical charge. The instrument is tuned to capture “cosmic rays” at high energy hurled out by supernova explosions or the turbulent regions surrounding black holes. And there are high hopes that it will capture particles of antim

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