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Development of a demonstrator for the Penetrating Particle Analyser (PAN) technology

Project description

A window on ionising radiation will shed light on our cosmos and foster safe space travel

The Universe is full of radiation, energy emitted as rays, electromagnetic waves, and particles. Space radiation differs from the radiation we experience on Earth. It consists of three main types of high-energy (ionising) radiation: particles trapped in the Earth’s magnetic field, particles during solar flares, and cosmic rays originating outside our solar system. High-energy radiation is dangerous because we cannot easily shield ourselves from it. It moves through substances, ionising atoms in the surrounding material. The EU-funded PAN project is building a demonstrator of a penetrating particle analyser to help us understand these particles in deep space. Insight will shed light on violent solar events, cosmic rays, and space weather, enhancing basic understanding and the future safety of humans in space.


The goal of the project is to build a demonstrator for the Penetrating Particle Analyser (PAN), an innovative energetic particle detection technology to precisely measure and monitor the flux and composition of highly penetrating particles (> ~100 MeV/nucleon) in deep space. The application of PAN is broad and multidisciplinary, covering cosmic ray physics, solar physics, space weather and space travel. PAN will fill an observation gap of galactic cosmic rays in the 100 MeV/nucleon - GeV/nucleon region, which is crucial for improving our still limited understanding of the origin of cosmic rays, and their propagation through the Galaxy and the Solar system. It will provide precise information of the spectrum, composition and timing of energetic particle originated from the Sun, which is essential for studying the physical process of solar activities, in particular the rare but violent solar events that produce intensive flux of energetic particles. The precise measurement and monitoring of the penetrating particles is also a unique contribution to space weather studies, in particular to the development of predictive space weather models in a multi-wavelength and multi-messenger approach, using observations both space and ground based. As indicated by the terminology, penetrating particles cannot be shielded effectively. PAN can monitor the flux and composition of these particles precisely and continuously, thus providing real-time radiation hazard warning and long term radiation health risk for human space travelers. Once developed, PAN can become a standard device for deep space human bases and for deep space exploration and commercial spacecrafts, or as part of a space weather advance warning system permanently deployed in space. It can also be implemented on science missions to perform ground-breaking measurements for cosmic-ray physics, solar physics, planetary science and space radiation dosimetry.

Call for proposal


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Net EU contribution
€ 1 312 500,00
Rue du general dufour 24
1211 Geneve

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Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera Région lémanique Genève
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (3)