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Today's Spacewalk will fix a crucial dark matter experiment

Computer-generated image of the AMS of the ISS
Image : NASA / AD

Astronauts Andrew Morgan of NASA and Luke Parmitano of the European Space Agency are outsiders is on the International Space Station (ISS) as we are talking about. The duo takes a space walk to capture a key experiment in dark matter . You can watch (and view) the progress here.

S pacemakers happen regularly (there were historically one just last month) but Friday is the most complex serving mission since the repair mission , according to NASA. The last Hubble renovation took place ten years ago. Astronauts work to solve an exciting experiment on the hunt for dark matter things that make up most of the mass of uverse 1945, but are only observed indirectly. After a decade of development, the alpha magnetic spectrometer (AMS) was deployed on the ISS at the last space shuttle flight in 2011.

AMS is the controversial ISS particle detector that measures high energy particles emitting in space called cosmic rays. Most famously, this is one of several experiments that see an excess in the antimatter partner to an electron called a positron. To this day, it is not entirely clear where these additional positrons in the cosmic rays come from – perhaps they originate in a nearby neutron star, or perhaps they are a sign of something more exotic, for example dark matter. Studies using AMS data also hope to confirm the strange dropping out of a high-energy antimatter observed by the Chinese DAMPE satellite.

AMS is also on the hunt for antimatter the most important antimatter counterpart to helium nuclei. Cosmic rays cannot produce these nuclei, which means they would be born elsewhere in the universe, perhaps in a galaxy with mostly antimatter. Many are skeptical that these areas of the universe exist, Scientific Reports .

For all the work done by AMS, it is also in rough form . The T hree of its four coolant pumps failed. Friday's Space Walk is part of the series (there may be four or five of them) through to replace the pumps and supplement the coolant. If these repairs fail at least, the experiment will expand scientists' knowledge of cosmic rays and how they work.

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