News & AnalysisPhysics

Controversy Follows Pricey Space Station Experiment to Launch Pad

Science  22 Apr 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6028, pp. 408-409
DOI: 10.1126/science.332.6028.408

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Summary

If all goes as planned, next Friday, NASA's space shuttle Endeavor will carry a massive particle detector to the international space station, some 17 years after the mission was proposed. The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer will open a new eye on the cosmos, says Samuel C. C. Ting, a Nobel Prize–winning particle physicist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the indefatigable leader of the project, which seemed moribund 6 years ago after NASA scratched it from its shuttle schedule. Yet, even as the $2 billion experiment sits ready for launch, some scientists question its value.