TimPix: Whatever the Weather - Monitoring Peake Radiation Levels with Timepix

As part of the educational activities around the British astronaut Tim Peake's mission to the International Space Station (ISS), this project offers schools the unique opportunity to access and analyse ionising radiation data from the ISS. A variety of data sets will be available from the start with others being made available as Tim’s mission progresses. By taking part in this project schools will contribute to research that will improve our understanding of radiation in space. A list of useful sources of information can be found on the CERN@school website.

Whilst living on board the ISS, astronauts come into contact with radiation from a variety of sources. This radiation is monitored using various methods. One type of technology used is the Timepix hybrid silicon pixel detector (developed at CERN). The detectors themselves measure the type (alpha, beta, gamma, Minimum Ionising Particles (MIPs), heavy ion fragments, etc.), direction and energy of the radiation. The aim of NASA’s research is to understand more about how the human body reacts to being in space for long periods of time. This will be useful as in the future we aim to travel to Mars, which is a nine month journey. The ISS Timepix data sets released as part of the TimPix project could be used to investigate many areas of scientific and engineering interest. The ISS Timepix data may also be compared to that collected by the satellite-based LUCID experiment or detectors on the ground.

 

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