I proposed the HDMS project in 2016, when I noticed that CERN was the best place to develop superconducting magnets for space experiments. It is well known that one of the most important open questions in Physics is the matter-antimatter imbalance in the Universe, also known as the problem of baryogenesis. There is no evidence of Standard Model processes being so different for matter and antimatter to explain the observed asymmetry. To solve the mystery, we have to discover processes sufficiently violating the CP symmetry (the one relating a particle to its antiparticle) or to find where the antimatter has gone in our Universe.
Quite importantly, the AMS-02 collaboration has publicly reported the observation of 3He/4He antinuclei (see this paper for reference), with a rate significantly exceeding the background expectation. The result has not been published yet, but it is extremely important to confirm or disprove it. To this purpose, a magnetic spectrometer has to be launched into space, with more sensitivity than AMS-02 and possibly extending the explorable range of energy.
In 2016, I realised that the future of high-energy physics at colliders may cross with that of this important sector of astroparticle physics. In fact, CERN is developing High-Temperature Superconducting (HTS) magnets for future circular colliders and the technology may be important for future space magnetic spectrometers as well. Hence the idea of triggering the collaboration of CERN and ASI (Italian Space Agency) to start the HDMS project.
The main goal of the HTS demonstrator magnet for space (HDMS) project is to design, manufacture, and test a high-field HTS demonstrator coil based on ReBCO tape suitable for space applications. The HDMS project will validate most technical solutions recently envisaged to operate HTS magnets in space, allowing to measure working parameters that have been only computed or simulated until now. The huge impact that HTS magnets would have on space activities is widely recognized. They are essential elements of plasma propulsion engines (see the VASIMR project by US Ad Astra Rocket Company) and they have been shown to be at least as effective as passive shielding against cosmic radiation for long interplanetary manned missions (see the SR2S project, EU FP7 programme).