The Italian Almanac


Italian Science - March 17

Russian and Italian scientists have developed an orbital version of the high-precision Pamela magnetic spectrometer, thereby concluding a highly important stage in the RIM-Pamela international project, managers at Russia's Federal Space Agency say (RIM stands for Russian-Italian Mission) This project, which also involves scientists from Germany, Sweden and the United States, aims to solve fundamental problems of cosmology that studies the origin of the universe and its evolution.

The Pamela spectrometer features state-of-the-art elementary-particle detectors that can register and measure electric-charge magnitude and polarity, as well as space-particle speed, energy, mass, direction and ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival), using magnetic-analysis methods (i.e., by measuring the deviation of particles that pass through the magnetic field).

Off-line tests of this spectrometer's orbital version are now being conducted at the Tor Vargata University of Rome under the guidance of Professor Piergiorgio Picozza, who is the project's academic supervisor on behalf of Italy. After that, the spectrometer will be sent to Russia this April and placed inside a special airtight container. The container itself will be installed aboard the Russian-made Resource-DK-1 remote-sensing satellite, which was developed at the TsSKB-Progress rocket center in Samara.

Unlike the satellite's main specialized equipment, which will scan the Earth, the Pamela spectrometer will be aimed toward the zenith along its sensitive axis. It will therefore become possible to observe space radiation all the time during the satellite's service life.