Search for Low Energy Heavy Particles of Solar and Galactic Origin (Platan-Cosmic Rays) - 11.08.17

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

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Rocks in the road have cracked many car windshields on Earth.  In space, cosmic radiation, micrometeroids, and orbital debris pose a similar risk to equipment on the space station. This investigation assessed that risk by examining the flow and energy levels of cosmic rays during different phases of solar activity and detecting micro-particles around the station.  The measurements are compared with results from computer simulations. Results confirm that the type of detector used can reliably measure both galactic cosmic rays and solar cosmic ray flares, information that can help better protect the space station. Now if we could do something about those road rocks.

Though they be but little, they are fierce. Micrometeoroids, orbital debris, and cosmic ray nuclei flying at high speeds pose serious threats to spacecraft. This study measured the number and size of holes and craters caused by microparticles colliding with Salyut-6, Salyut-7, Mir, and the International Space Station. Results indicate that diameter of a crater or hole depends on particle size and velocity, and most particles stop after piercing thermal control coatings, although one relatively large particle pierced a steel frame on the space station. These findings highlight the importance of additional study to protect spacecraft from particle collisions (Novikov,2017)

The following content was provided by Yu F. Gagarin, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom:

Principal Investigator(s)
Yu F. Gagarin, Ioffe Physical - Technical Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
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Developer(s)
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Sponsoring Space Agency
Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos)

Sponsoring Organization
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Research Benefits
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ISS Expedition Duration
December 2001 - December 2002; November 2002 - May 2003; April 2003 - October 2004; April 2005 - October 2007; April 2008 - October 2008

Expeditions Assigned
4,5,6,7,8,9,11,12,13,14,15,17

Previous Missions
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Experiment Description

Research Overview
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Description
Study of elemental composition and detailed energy spectra of iron group nuclei in galactic cosmic rays and ions in solar cosmic rays in the 30-200 MeV/nucleon energy range. An additional objective is to detect micro-particles in the vicinity of the space station.

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Applications

Space Applications
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Earth Applications
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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols
Platan-M detector unit, Kodak ESC460c digital camera to photograph the detector.
Installation of Platan-M detector units on the surface of the Zvezda Service Module of the ISS RS during extravehicular activity, photography of their accommodation on the outer surface of the Service module. Long-duration exposure (1-2 years) of the Platan-M detector units on the Service module surface. Dismounting of the Platan-M detector units after long-duration exposure from the outer surface of the Service module during extravehicular activity and their return to the ground for processing of the experiment results.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

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Results/More Information

The spectra of galactic cosmic ray iron nuclei and of the iron ions of solar cosmic rays from the most powerful flares in the range 30-160 MeV/nucleon were measured. The results obtained point to the broad capabilities of the PLATAN unit. This unit made it possible to measure the spectra of galactic cosmic ray iron nuclei and of iron ions of the most powerful solar cosmic ray flares reliably and with a high-energy resolution, which is extremely crucial to compare the results of measurements with theoretical models. The results of PLATAN together with those of a number of experiments on orbiting stations made it possible to discover the particular features of nuclei spectra and to identify the systematic methodological differences when measuring particle streams in space using different equipment. Microparticle streams in the environment surrounding the ISS, micrometeoroids, and orbital debris, caused damage to heat shielding placed above a nuclei detector. The total spectrum of the diameters of through-and-through holes caused by microparticle penetration in heat shielding film was measured. The spectrum measured was compared with simulation calculations. The majority of microparticles passing through the heat shielding film remained in the top layer of the detector (Lavsan). However, a unique event was noted: a microparticle punctured a steel frame of the chamber 0.5-mm thick. Such events pose a significant hazard for the crew and equipment of orbiting stations, therefore, assessing the probability of such cases is of great value.
 
Microparticles such as micrometeoroids, orbital debris, and heavy nuclei of cosmic rays flying about in space at high speeds have threatened space stations over the years due to the likelihood of hypervelocity impacts. This study analyzed the number and size of holes as well as craters that resulted from microparticle collisions against thermal control systems, the surface of a specimen container, and other materials. The measurements conducted included the space stations Salyut-6, Salyut-7, Mir, and the International Space Station (ISS). Images of the space stations showed dents, cracks, and holes of circular shape with swellings around them. A particular event showed that a relatively large particle pierced a 500 lm thick steel frame of the ISS. A different number of impacts were recorded depending on the detector and the length of the experiment. Relative to model predictions, investigators concluded that the diameter of a crater or a hole depends on the particle’s size and velocity. These findings highlight the importance of studying space microparticles to protect spacecraft materials (Novikov, 2017).

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Results Publications

    Baranov DG, Dergachev VA, Gagarin YF, Lyagushin VI, Nymmik RA, Panasyuk MI, Solov'ev AV, Yakubovsky EA.  The high-energy heavy particle fluences in the orbits of manned space station. Radiation Measurements. 2002; 35: 423-431. DOI: 10.1016/S1350-4487(02)00073-2.

    Baranov DG, Dergachev VA, Nymmik RA, Yakubovsky EA, Gagarin YF.  The cosmic ray heavy nucleus recording inside the Earth’s magnetosphere: Experiment Platan. Geomagnetizm I Aeronomiya (Geomagnetism and Aeronomy). 2004; 44(6): 1-8, 771.

    Novikov LS, Baranov DG, Gagarin YF, Dergachev VA, Samokhina MS, Voronina EN.  Measurements of microparticle fluxes on orbital space stations from 1978 until 2011. Advances in Space Research. 2017; epub: 8 pp. DOI: 10.1016/j.asr.2017.03.020. [Also results for KOMPLAST.]

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Ground Based Results Publications

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ISS Patents

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Related Publications

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Related Websites
Energia - Science Research on the ISS Russian Segment

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Imagery

image The Platan-M detector closed.
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image The Platan-M detector opened.
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