Thursday, May 19, 2011

STS134: Here's Your AMS...

Artist version of AMS being removed from cargo bay.

Using the CanadArm on the shuttle and the CanadArm2 on the ISS, astronauts removed the Alpha Magentic Spectrometer 2 from the cargo bay of Endeavour and attached it to its new home on the ISS. The AMS is designed to detect and bend cosmic rays using a powerful magnet to search for evidence of dark matter. The AMS was built in Europe and is the culmination of efforts from 60 countries! Oh, and it cost about $2 billion. In my opinion, if it doesn't detect some dark matter than that is a serious matter... Ahem.

Computer image showing new location for AMS.

Computer image credits from NASA TV as usual. Currently, the astronauts are preparing for the first spacewalk of the mission, which should start about 1:16 am Friday and last about six and a half hours. Drew Feustel and Greg Chamitoff will perform the first spacewalk to retrieve two experiments, set out two more, and perform maintenance on the station. Three other spacewalks are planned for this mission after this one.

Astronauts prepare the EVA suits.

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