50 years GSI



The new accelerator facility FAIR is under construction at GSI. Learn more.


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ESA and GSI to offer experimentation opportunities for studying cosmic radiation

Photo: A. Zschau, GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschun

SIS – Interior View of the Cavity.



Cosmic radiation poses a major threat to the health of astronauts exploring outer space. In order to study in more detail the biological effects of cosmic radiation and find out solutions for effective radiation protection measures in space, the European Space Agency (ESA) and GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung have been cooperating on the research project IBER (Investigations into Biological Effects of Radiation) for almost ten years. The project enables groups of researchers to use the GSI accelerator facilities to study the biological effects of cosmic radiation. Now, scientists will have a further opportunity to study this topic at GSI and utilize beam time. On September 26, an information workshop will be held at the GSI Campus to prepare researchers to use the facility.

Last summer the ESA called on scientists to submit ideas for experiments that would help to improve the risk assessment of cosmic radiation doses or enable protective countermeasures that would make safe manned space travel possible. Out in space, the crews of spacecraft can be subjected to a variety of doses and types of radiation that can impair their health.

The results of such studies will not only serve future space travel but also provide information for a better life on earth. For example, data from the experiments can provide insights about the radiation risks on earth and help improve radiation therapies for treating cancer.

At the workshop, the participants will discuss the various project ideas and their feasibility. Researchers will then be able to submit detailed proposals, which a committee of experts will decide on by the end of the year. Scientists from GSI will assist the committee in evaluating the proposals. After the committee has made its evaluations, GSI will set aside a total of 160 hours of beam time in 2018 and 2019 for the selected proposals. To conduct their experiments, the researchers will use the GSI accelerator facilities. These have already been vastly improved and will be further upgraded technically for their future use as preaccelerators for the unique accelerator center FAIR (Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research), which is currently being built at GSI.

SIS – Interior View of the Cavity.
The existing SIS18 ring accelerator will be available for the IBER research project.
Photo: A. Zschau, GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschun