Italians in space

DAMA mission logo

DAMA mission's logo is designed by an italian middle school student, and mission name is choiced by another young pupil using the first two letters ofthe words dark matter.
The mission man is Roberto Vittori: he'll use AMS-02. Using this device, he will detect dark matter and antimatter by observing the cosmic rays, helping us hopefully to better understand the origin and structure of the Universe.
Roberto will act also some experiments in life science, technology, medicine, biology and material science.

From ESA's pdf I extract some quotes about AMS:
AMS is embarking on a mission to explore distant and
uncharted realms of our Universe, where answers to some longstanding questions in particle physics and cosmology may be revealed and unexpected phenomena may be discovered.
Mission's keywords are cosmic rays, antimatter, dark matter, dark energy.
Cosmic rays are composed by radiation and stable particles from stars, but when they arrive to our planet, they interact with atmosphere. So it is need to use a detector in space, and astronomers and particle physicists are eagerly awaiting the data.
Antimatter is, in a very simple picture, same to the matter but with opposed charge, and is more unstable.
AMS will search for antimatter to the edge of the observable universe.
Finally, according to theories and indirect observations, we know to... unknow 95% of the universe! Experiment was projected by prof.Ting.
Prof. Ting's experiment will increase the sensitivity of the search by between a thousand and a million times, revealing a totally different domain by either finding the neutralino or revealing something else. AMS-02 might also detect a new, exotic form of matter predicted by scientists: a very heavy elementary particle dubbed 'strangelet'.

Another important event is the presence on International Space Station of two italians, Roberto Vittori, who arrived with STS-134 mission. And on ISS there is Paolo Nespoli, who publishes his spectacular photos on flickr.
A great event for all Italian poeple!

(via ESA)

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