The Mystery of Cosmic Rays

Image Courtesy of NSF / J. Yang

Researchers at NASA have been conducting an experiment with a particle collector mounted on the outside of the International Space Station, in an effort to learn more about cosmic rays, the charged particles that fill the universe.

They say that telescopes are an invaluable tool to measure photons, tiny particles of light both visible and invisible, giving us much of the knowledge we have of the universe so far.  But the ‘cosmos speaks to us in languages other than light’.  The  particle collector, known as an ‘Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer’, or AMS,  makes it possible to study cosmic rays for the first time from space.

Nikola Tesla discovered cosmic rays in his experiments with high-frequency electricity in 1897,  and devoted the last part of his life to developing a system to harness them.  He said This new power for the driving of the world’s machinery will be derived from the energy which operates the universe, the cosmic energy, whose central source for the earth is the sun and which is everywhere present in unlimited quantities.”  (Brooklyn Eagle July 10, 1932)

This is a video about the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.