Published - 15 May 2013
A series of experiments under preparation to measure gravitational mass of antimatter
To begin with, let us get down to some facts of elementary physics.
QUESTION: What is the difference between MASS and WEIGHT?
MASS is a non-vector value; it is inertial mass.
WEIGHT is a vector value; it is gravitational mass.
As you may know, not one but as many as three experiments have been initiated and ARE BEING PREPARED FOR IMPLEMENTATION, ONE OF THE KEY GOALS OF WHICH IS TO FIND AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION “HOW MUCH DOES THE ANTIMATTER WEIGH?”.
I was a little bit surprised, though very happy, to find out that for the time being there are three groups of researchers who have joined the race to the direct measurement of the antimatter’s weight (gravitational mass).
I believe that my articles and arguments were not in vain and served as an inducement for others to prepare projects on such direct measurements.
And now some information about the experiments themselves (for more details follow the links)
ALPHA – Initially the experiment was designed for other studies of antimatter. But at some point the researchers came to the conclusion that the data already collected allow to single out the component of interaction between the earth’s gravitational field and antihydrogen atoms.
In 2014, when the new installation called ALPHA-2 is put into operation, it is planned to carry out some researches on measuring gravitational mass of antihydrogen with a higher accuracy and a significantly lower measuring uncertainty as compared to those already published.
AEGIS – Another experiment, preparation of which is well under way, intended for measuring gravitational interaction of matter and antimatter. It is planned to accomplish all works on preparation and testing of the equipment by the middle of 2014 and probably to carry out the first measurements in the second half of 2014.
GBAR – This experiment has been approved and is possibly being prepared for implementation. I am unaware of the deadlines or other information on this experiment so far.
Physicists also suggest other experiments aimed at measuring impact of gravitational field of material objects (the Earth) on antimatter objects.
I don’t want to look too far ahead; however, I think all planned experiments and all experiments to be planned are just a beginning of a long journey… We will not have to wait for too long.