Speaking as the 8.5-tonne Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) machine was being loaded into a huge U.S. Air Force cargo plane at Geneva airport, they said the 20-year research program would bring a huge step forward in understanding the cosmos.
“If there is an anti-universe, perhaps out there beyond the edge of our universe, our space-based detector may well be able to bring us signs of its existence,” U.S. scientist and Nobel laureate Samuel Ting told a news conference.
“The cosmos is the ultimate laboratory.”
Ting, a 73-year-old professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is principal investigator for the project, which involves some 500 scientists and technicians round the globe.
Cosmologists say matter and anti-matter — which annihilate each other on contact, releasing energy — must have been made in equal quantities by the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago. But the universe that emerged is overwhelmingly made up of matter.
Scientists hope the AMS will find clues to what happened to anti-matter, and whether there are other places that are almost entirely anti-matter, existing on the edge of the known universe and a mirror image of it and everything in it, including life.
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