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Balloon Campaign Will Seek Evidence of Antimatter Galaxy


DOCUMENT: Balloon Campaign Will Seek Evidence of Antimatter Galaxy

  [07/29/88 Update of NASA Balloon Mission]

   NASA will launch three huge balloons in Canada next month to 

search for cosmic rays, including those that could provide evidence of galaxies made of antimatter.

   Antimatter consists of particles with electrical charges 

opposite those of "common" matter, which constitutes Earth's material. When antimatter and matter collide there is a mutual and complete annihilation, releasing energy far greater in proportion then energy released by nuclear fission or fusion.

   Whether antimatter could ever be created in sufficient 

supply and harnessed to provide useful energy is a challenging question.

   The flights will begin Aug. 2, in a month-long campaign that 

is part of the NASA Balloon Program managed by the Goddard Space Flight Center's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va.

   Balloons that will lift three cosmic ray experiments to 

approximately 120,000 feet will be launched from Prince Albert Saskatchewan Airport, approximately 300 miles north of the U.S./Canadian border.

   Scientific balloons are utilized to carry large research 

payloads with scientific instruments to make measurements at altitudes above 99 percent of the Earth's atmosphere. They are made of a thin polyethylene material and are more than 350 feet in diameter at full inflation. These balloons provide unique experiment platforms for measurements at altitudes in the upper stratosphere.

   Personnel from WFF and the National Scientific Balloon 

Facility, Palestine, Texas, will provide the launching and operational flight support at the primary operations site in Prince Albert. Personnel from WFF also will provide downrange telemetry tracking support at Edmonton, Alberta.

   Principal investigators for this campaign are Dr. Steve 

Ahlen, Boston University; Dr. W. Robert Binns, Washington University; and Dr. Steve Schindler, California Institute of Technology.

   Ahlen's extragalactic antimatter experiment is a 4,500-pound 

payload that will search for heavy anti-nuclei (anti-silicon to anti-iron), and will be flown on a 28.4 million cubic foot balloon. The observed anti-nuclei are expected to provide evidence for the existence of galaxies made completely of antimatter. Scientist believe this discovery could prove to be extremely useful for understanding the annihilation process between matter and antimatter in the creation of galaxies.

   Binns' payload, called the scintillating optic fiber 

experiment is a 1,200-pound cosmic ray isotope experiment that will utilize newly-developed range and trajectory-defining detectors based on scintillating fiber optics. It also will be carried aloft by a 28.4 million-cubic-foot balloon.

   Schindler's 2,700-pound payload, to be carried on a 23.3 

million-cubic-foot balloon, is the high energy isotope spectrometer telescope. This experiment employs a combination of scintillators and counters to form a cosmic ray isotope spectrometer capable of measuring the isotopic composition of cosmic rays from helium to nickle.

   The mission is part of the overall NASA Balloon Program, 

managed at Wallops. The program provides 40-45 balloon flights a year from locations around the world.


{*via FTL-BBS/NASA-Huntsville Link*}

/data/webs/external/dokuwiki/data/pages/archive/fun/antimatr.txt · Last modified: 1999/08/01 17:07 (external edit)