ESC2RAD is a Research and Innovation H2020 project financed by the European Commission. It aims at studying Space radiation effects on both biological targets and functional materials (like solar cells) for missions like the ISS and a mission on Mars, under different scenarios for the solar activity and in different energy ranges. This will be done by combining Space environment modeling tools (based on Monte Carlo modelling, appropriate for high energy impacting particles) with first principles approaches from the quantum chemistry/electronic structure community (Molecular Dynamics, Time Dependent Density Functional Theory, able to probe in detail the low energy regime). This will allow to better redefining the harmful character of different Space Weather scenarios, and developing mitigation strategies for the damage of functional materials onboard spacecrafts/rovers and for the biological damage to which astronauts are subjected.
Radiation damage via Monte Carlo approaches has a long and robust tradition in particle physics and also in Space radiation modelling. Nevertheless, it has now come the time to go beyond certain approximations underlying such approach. For this, first-principles (parameter-free) approaches from other communities are very promising in providing a quantum mechanical description of the impact of projectile particles which overcomes such approximations. The final aim of the project is to advance the understanding of radiation damage, and to boost technological developments, by guiding the future search of better radiation-resistant materials and possibly suggesting dietary/mitigating agents to protect our biology from the hazard of space radiation.
Contact: BIRA-IASB, Av. Circulaire 3, Brussels, Belgium.