It’s problematic enough when something goes wrong with a complicated, $2 billion physics experiment on Earth. Those challenges are considerably greater when said physics experiment is on the International Space Station, orbiting 250 miles above the surface of the Earth. Thanks to the efforts of the intrepid ISS crew, who conducted a series of spacewalks to make repairs, a damaged particle detector has a new lease on life.
Among the Stars, a new six-part documentary series on Disney+, chronicles the challenges the crew faced on that mission over the course of two years. The series also chronicles the final spaceflight of veteran NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, which occurred right as the COVID-19 pandemic put the world in lockdown. “I joke that, three years ago, I knew I was going into quarantine in March 2020, according to plan,” Cassidy told Ars. “I just didn’t know that the whole world would join me there.”
As we’ve previously reported, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) is a particle detector that launched to the International Space Station in 2011 on the penultimate flight of the space shuttle. The machine has steadily been collecting data during the last six years, looking at a variety of particles from many sources, among them dark matter collisions.
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