Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Green light for Lazio - Sirad

14.04.2005


The experiment on the International Space Station that will chase earthquakes



Lazio-Sirad is ready to gather data. The experiment is installed on the International Space Station and its aim is to trace the slight variations of the so-called Van Allen belts that seem to occur before earthquakes.

At the same time the experiment will gather data that will make possible the development of techniques of protection from radiation for astronauts. The astronaut Roberto Vittori will carry out measures. He will leave for the International Space Station tomorrow April 15th and he will reach it after about 2 days. Lazio-Sirad was developed by the Infn sections and by the Universities of Perugia, Rome "Tor Vergata" and Rome Tre, in collaboration with the Infn National Laboratories of Frascati, the Serms University Laboratory of Terni, the MePhi Institute of Moscow, the Ferrari Bsn, Nergal and Airtec with the participation of Filas (Lazio Region).


Our planet is incessantly bombarded with a rain of cosmic rays, charged stable particles, such as protons and electrons. This flux is partly prevented by the Earth magnetic field, that traps a part of it out of atmosphere, to a height of hundred up to thousand kilometres. The distribution of these particles is not though homogeneous: they place themselves in areas called Van Allen belts, after the name of the American physicist that discovered their existence in 1958. In whole, the Van Allen belts behave like a huge antenna, sensitive to the slightest variation of the Earth magnetic field. The surprising aspect is that preliminary measures gathered by Russian and American researchers in more than 15 years and analyzed in details by Russian and Italian researchers, indicate that this natural antenna is able to reveal precursory phenomena of intense earthquakes four or five hours in advance. The Lazio-Sirad experiment is the first sensor planned with the aim of verifying such a hypothesis in the Space, and it is clear the interest of such researches in a country exposed to seismic risk like Italy.

In which way can the Earth’s crust tensions reflect on the cosmic particles trapped out of atmosphere? It was observed, trough measures realized at earth, that from the area of a future earthquake, electromagnetic waves of different frequency are generated in the underground: among these, low-frequency waves can reach atmosphere, cross it and interact with the particles trapped in the Van Allen belts. In this way, it is possible to produce rapid variations of the charged particles flux: measuring these variations it would be possible to state the area in which the emission of low-frequency waves occurred and so state where an earthquake is taking place.

"In order to study the interaction between the Van Allen belts and geophysics phenomena as the seismic events, Lazio-Sirad uses sophisticated and innovative particles detectors based on the use of silica and scintillating plastics. The measure of the particles trapped in the Van Allen belts will be related to the magnetic field measurements made through a precision magnetometer, called Egle, part itself of Lazio-Sirad programme. Once the physics principal of the instrumentation and its functioning in orbit will be verified, it will possible to open way to new Earth monitoring methods using not expensive micro-satellites", explains Roberto Battiston, director of the Infn section in Perugia, who coordinated the realization of Lazio-Sirad project, in close collaboration with Piergiorgio Picozza, director of the Infn section of Roma Tor Vergata, and with Vittorio Sgrigna, physics professor at the University of Roma Tre and spokesman of the Egle magnetometer.

In this circumstance the experiment Sileye3/Alteino, brought on board of the International Space Station just by Roberto Vittori during his previous mission "Marco Polo", will be put back into service. "The experiment Sileye3/Alteino is particularly important to develop new materials and new technologies to protect man from bombing of cosmic particles during future lunar and interplanetary missions", explains Piergiorgio Picozza, who participated in Lazio-Sirad coordination and is also spokesman of the Sileye3/Alteino experiment.

"The Lazio-Sirad experiment has another important goal: to improve the study on the phenomenon of the light flashes, observed by the astronauts on board of the Mir and of the International Space Station, by analysing, in particular, the interaction between the different kinds of cosmic rays and the astronauts’ visual apparatus", explains Marco Casolino of the Infn section of Roma Tor Vergata, spokesman for the Lazio-Sirad part dedicated to the study of the light flashes.

Lazio-Sirad will work at least for six months since the beginning of the operations of data acquisition. The first results of the data analysis are foreseen by the end of 2005. Lazio-Sirad has involved about 30 persons, among these: physicists, geophysicists, engineers and technicians from the different institutes that have participated. The instrument has been realized in a very short time (less than 6 months since the beginning of the project to the delivery to the Russian Space Agency on January the 25th) respecting all the complex security procedures, verification and space qualification required by the European Space Agency (Esa) and by the Russian Space Agency (Energia).

The project takes place in the context of the European mission Eneide, born from the collaboration between the Italian region Lazio, the Military Aeronautics, Alenia Spazio, the Chamber of Commerce of Rome, Esa, and Asi. The Eneide mission will start tomorrow April the 15th from the space polygon in Baikonur, in Kazakhistan, and it will travel on board of the Russian capsule Soyuz Tma, directed to the International Space Station. All the scientific experiments of Eneide mission will be managed from the control centre "Lazio user Centre", already working and settled in the Infn section of Roma Tor Vergata.

Roberto Battiston | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.infn.it

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Researchers create artificial materials atom-by-atom
28.03.2017 | Aalto University

nachricht Astronomers probe swirling particles in halo of starburst galaxy
28.03.2017 | International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers create artificial materials atom-by-atom

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers show p300 protein may suppress leukemia in MDS patients

28.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>