NASA launches space radiation project
TimPix in the US
The Institute for Research in Schools (IRIS) is working with NASA to get American students involved in the TimPix project.
UK schools signed up to IRIS are already working with data captured during British astronaut Tim Peake’s six-month European Space Agency (ESA) mission on the International Space Station (ISS), which ended on 18 June.
Now 14-18-year-olds across the United States are being offered the same opportunities to study the effects of radiation on astronauts.
“We are delighted that TimPix is now a transatlantic project, offering many thousands more young people the chance to take part in truly exciting and cutting edge research,” said Becky Parker, IRIS director.
“By taking part, students can directly contribute to research that will improve our understanding of radiation in space.”
The ongoing TimPix project, in collaboration with CERN and with funding from ESA and the UK Space Agency, uses detectors on board the ISS to measure the type of radiation that humans come into contact with while in orbit, from the Sun and other sources outside the solar system.
Data collected by Timepix hybrid silicon pixel detectors, used in CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, is downloaded daily to NASA’s Space Radiation Analysis Group and distributed to participating schools.
This enables them to consider questions such as: What type of radiation is present? What impact does different altitudes or locations around the world have on the number and types of particles detected? What happens during a solar flare?
The research is vital in helping NASA to detect and monitor radiation’s effects on the body and find out what it needs to do to protect astronauts during a future manned mission to Mars.
UK students will get the chance to share and exhibit their work at a research symposium in November.