Moon and Mars material testing

ROSSINI for space radiation protection testing

10 October 2012

Formally known as ROSSINI – Radiation Shielding by ISRU (In-Situ Resource Utilisation) and/or Innovative Materials for EVA, Vehicle and Habitat – the project also involves complex ‘Monte Carlo’ simulations to get a statistical overview of radiation effects.

One key resource is the Geant4 toolkit to simulate particles striking matter, developed through a CERN-led international collaboration and also employed on CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.

“Simulation results are then compared against test data – an essential stage because this is such a complex field with many unknowns, especially in terms of human biology,” Alessandra says.

“Our completed research will then be available in the planning of manned missions.”

GSI also provided access to its US counterpart, NASA’s Space Radiation Laboratory at Brookhaven in New York, where the first round of testing was recently performed.

ROSSINI is being managed for ESA by Thales Alenia Space Italy, with GSI performing testing and data analysis and Swiss company SpaceIT working on simulations.

ESA’s cooperation with GSI extends beyond ROSSINI: the Agency will be a major user of its new Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research particle accelerator. When complete, FAIR will give experimental access to an even higher range of particle energies.

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