The NINA experiment represents one of the most
important steps of an extensive research program dedicated to the study of the nuclear and
isotopic components of cosmic rays, and to antimatter detection in space. The whole program
is carried out by the WiZard collaboration together with Russian partners, and makes use of
balloon-borne, satellite and Space Station missions. This collaboration, gathered around
Prof. Robert Golden who first discovered antiprotons
in space, was born for a program of antimatter research.
Many balloon-borne experiments have been performed by the WiZard collaboration in
the last ten years, utilizing typical detectors of elementary particle physics. MASS 89, MASS 91, TS93,
CAPRICE 94 and CAPRICE 98
have provided important results on the antiparticle-particle ratio and on the energy
spectra from 1 GeV to 50 GeV for antiprotons, and from 500 MeV to 20 GeV for positrons.
Also relevant have been the measurements of primary proton and helium spectra, and those of
positive and negative muon fluxes at different atmospheric depths, important for solving
the atmospheric neutrino puzzle.
NINA is a part of the Russian-Italian Mission (RIM) research program, and represents the RIM-1 mission. The first
steps (RIM-0.1 and RIM-0.2) were the
SilEye-1 and SilEye-2
experiments, performed on board of the Russian MIR station. The SilEye detectors consisted of silicon sensors able to
study the radiation environment inside the MIR and the nature of particles producing the
"light flashes" seen by astronauts in darkness conditions.
The RIM-2 mission is PAMELA.
PAMELA, a permanent magnet core facility with a variety of specialized detectors,
represents a state-of-the-art effort addressing the core of the investigation of the cosmic radiation:
origin and evolution of matter in the galaxy, search for antimatter
and dark matter of cosmological significance, understanding of
origin and acceleration of relativistic particles in the galaxy.
With its ability to study the charge, mass and energy spectra of the
cosmic rays with unprecedented precision and sensitivity,
PAMELA can make observations which will extend the
measurements performed with the balloon borne and satellite
CAPRICE and NINA experiments. PAMELA will be put in an elliptical orbit at an altitude between
300 and 600 Km, on board of the Resurs-DK1 Russian satellite, in the fall of the year 2002.
Caprice 94 flight
The astronaut Adveev with SilEye1 on MIR station