Successful cooperation: ESA investigators’ meeting at GSI/FAIR on the new IBPER-22 experimental program


Increasing the safety of astronauts in space and advancing modern research for the benefit of mankind: These goals are the focus of the successful cooperation between the European Space Agency ESA and GSI/FAIR in several research projects. GSI/FAIR is the European facility selected by ESA to study cosmic radiation and its effects on humans, electronics and materials. This includes the research program for "Investigations into Biological and Physical Effects of Radiation (IBPER)", which is currently entering a new phase. The project enables research groups to study biological and physical effects of space radiation at the GSI/FAIR accelerator facilities. Recently, an ESA research meeting was held on the GSI/FAIR campus as part of IBPER.

The workshop is a part of the preparations of implementation of the new experiments. The call for research proposals took place last year, submission, evaluation and selection as well. The goal of the current IBPER workshop was to discuss the experiment proposals of the research groups and to plan the future experiments during the next beam time at GSI/FAIR. Numerous scientists from Germany, Belgium, the Czech Republic, England, France and Italy participated in the workshop and shared information about the experiments, which deal with nanocomposites, moon dust and cold shields, among other topics.

The meeting was opened by Professor Paolo Giubellino, Scientific Managing Director of GSI and FAIR, and ESA Campaign Manager Dr. Anna Fogtmann. An overview of IBPER and IBER activities at GSI was given by the head of GSI’s Biophysics Department, Professor Marco Durante. During a guided tour, the guests got an insight into the GSI and FAIR research facilities before research plans were discussed.

The GSI accelerator facility is the only one in Europe that can generate all of the ion beams that occur in our solar system, which range from the lightest one, hydrogen, to the heaviest, uranium. The research opportunities will be expanded even further by the international accelerator facility FAIR. Even higher energies will be available for cosmic radiation simulation, enabling groundbreaking new insights. Using these pioneering research opportunities of GSI/FAIR, participants in the new IBPER program will be able to advance their selected research projects to expand knowledge of the biological and physical effects of cosmic radiation.

With space missions to the Moon and beyond, the complex space radiation environment can be a limiting factor of human and robotic space exploration. Ionizing radiation impacts living organisms and also interacts with matter, affecting electronic devices, and disrupting satellite operations. This creates the need for investigations into the effects of interactions of ionizing radiation with biological tissues, physical matter, and hardware, to better assess the risk of adverse effects of space radiation leading to designing countermeasures and mitigation strategies for spaceflight.

The results, generated by the ESA-GSI-collaboration will provide future-oriented information not only for space travel but also for life on earth. For example, data from the experiments can provide more detailed insights into radiation risks on earth. They can also help to optimize radiation protection measures and can improve radiation therapies for treating cancer. (BP)

Further information

IBER & IBPER Webpage