Sunday, September 28, 2008

Could The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer Get To The ISS After All?

The one single instrument that would turn the International Space Station (ISS) from a colossal scientific waste-of-money into something halfway useful might take off after all. The alpha magnetic spectrometer that was abruptly dumped by NASA to be flown to the ISS after it is ready and waiting has been given a lifeline by a US Congress authorization bill.

The measure authorizes $20.2 billion for next year’s NASA budget. That’s about $2.6 billion more than what President Bush had proposed for the agency and includes $1 billion specifically for work to accelerate development of the Constellation program, which will eventually replace the current shuttles. The measure also adds an extra flight to the shuttle’s current schedule to deliver a physics project, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, to the International Space Station.

One can only hope that the next US president sees what the rest of us see, that the AMS is the only thing up there that makes the ISS worthwhile.



Tom said...

There were atomic clock projects that would have been worthwhile, but they were dumped when the funding shifted to go back to the moon and on to Mars.

amiya said...

What is this AMS supposed to do? I guess it would sniff for signatures in the electromagnetic spectrum. But the spectrum is too vast. Or does it simply measure the magnetic field of celestial bodies?