Cosmic ray physics in space: from fundamental physics to applications
One hundred years after their discovery by Victor Hess, cosmic rays are nowadays subject of intense research from space-based detectors, able to perform for the first time high precision measurement of their composition and spectra as well as of isotropy and time variability. On May 2011, the alpha magnetic spectrometer (AMS-02) has been installed on the International Space Station, to measure with high accuracy the cosmic ray properties searching for rare events which could be an indication of the nature of dark matter or presence of nuclear antimatter. AMS-02 is the result of nearly two decades of effort of an international collaboration, involving in particular Chinese and Italian scientists, to design and build a state of the art detector capable to perform high precision cosmic rays measurement. In this paper, I will briefly report on the first results of AMS-02 as well as about two cosmic rays researches related researches which are spinoffs of the AMS technology development: utilization of superconductivity in space to develop magnetic shields capable to protect the astronauts from the intense dose of radiation collected during an interplanetary mission and study of the lithospheric\textendashmagnetospheric interactions linking seismology to cosmic rays in the context of the Sino-Italian collaboration on the China seismo-electromagnetic satellite.
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