The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02) successfully operating outside the International Space Station (ISS) since May 2011, is a detector of antimatter and dark matter as well as cosmic rays deployed to better understand the universe and its creation.
OHB Italia, together with ASI and INFN, gave a strong support to the AMS-02 development, in particular to the thermal control Subsystem, Radiators and the primary power supply.
Recent studies were focused on electron flows in cosmic rays which revealed new properties in their temporal variability.
Cosmic rays are energetic charged particles penetrating in our galaxy and reaching our Solar System and the Earth through the heliosphere, a region of space surrounding the Sun where the solar wind density is greater than the one in the interstellar space.
The cosmic ray flow is dominated by positively charged particles, such as protons and helium cores. Electron particles with negative charging are, on the opposite, very rare species of cosmic rays. They represent therefore a unique probe to understand the different propagation of positively and negatively charged cosmic rays.
Recent results from AMS-02 clearly show that electron fluxes have particular time evolutions with periods of 27 days, 13.5 days and 9 days, quite different from proton fluxes. The measurement is based on the analysis of about 200 million electrons collected by AMS-02 during an entire 11-year solar cycle.
These observations provide unique information to understand the fundamental mechanisms of cosmic ray transport within the heliosphere. A target impossible to reach in the past due to the limitations of the instruments used.
We have to remember also that cosmic rays represent one of the main health risks for astronauts in space during space exploration missions. AMS-02 measurements are therefore crucial to consolidate the required strategies and countermeasures to enable human exploration of deep space in the future.
This confirms the potential value of the instrument and how the recent findings represent an outstanding result for physics.
Read more on ASI Website: https://www.asi.it/2023/04/ams-02-svela-nuove-proprieta-sulla-variabilita-temporale-dei-flussi-di-raggi-cosmici/