Feature

Sam Ting's last tease

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Science  21 Apr 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6335, pp. 240-241
DOI: 10.1126/science.356.6335.240

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Summary

The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) has detected four or five candidate antihelium particles, never before seen in space. Even a single confirmed detection could imply the existence of oases of antimatter leftover from the big bang. It would be a vindication for Sam Ting, an 81-year-old Nobel Prize winner, and a major discovery for the $1.5 billion space magnet. The AMS was launched in 2011 on the next-to-last space shuttle flight and attached to the International Space Station. Now, it is aging: It is down to a last pump that cools its particle trackers. Ting and NASA are planning spacewalks to fix the AMS, so as to extend its chance of gathering enough antihelium candidates to make a discovery claim.