Space radiation in outer space is replicated in the laboratory. Scientists use burning laser plasma accelerators to replicate high-energy particle radiation around the Earth. The study can help scientists to study the impact of space exploration on human beings, and for the development of satellite and rocket equipment to provide a strong guarantee.
Space radiation is a major obstacle to human exploration of the solar system. High-energy ionized particles of the sun and deep space are extremely dangerous to human health, and they can penetrate directly through the skin and deposit energy, causing irreversible damage to cells and DNA. In addition, space radiation can cause serious damage to satellite equipment.
The most effective way to study space radiation is to actually carry the experimental equipment through the rocket to outer space for practical observation, but this is very expensive and difficult to achieve. Moreover, it is also very difficult to create space radiation similar to outer space on Earth. Scientists have tried to use conventional cyclotrons and linear particle accelerators. However, these devices can only produce single-energy particles, and can not completely replace the space in the radiation found in the wide band of particles.
At present, the Bernhard Hidding research team at the University of Strathclyde, UK, found a solution. The team uses a 30mw green laser plasma accelerator to produce a wide band of electrons and protons, which are typical particles in the Van Allen radiation band, which is the area of the particle radiation generated by the geomagnetic field.
The accelerator works by projecting a high-energy, high-brightness blue laser pointer beam onto a thin metal foil target with an area of only a few square microns. “The energy of the laser pulse is large and the energy of the generated electromagnetic field is even more than an order of magnitude greater than the Coulomb force inside the atom,” Hidding explains. “The metal foil target is therefore instantaneously converted to a plasma.” The plasma particles are strongly excited by the laser And other plasma field acceleration, the degree of acceleration depends on the initial position of the particle, this process can produce huge energy.
The research team used electronic sensitive image plates, proton radioactive color films and scintillation screens to study these plasma particles. In order to prove that the radiation produced by the laboratory is equivalent to the spatial radiation of outer space, the team requested NASA to perform computer simulations. “NASA’s simulation is based on models and measurements that represent what we currently know the most advanced,” says Hidding.
The next task is to demonstrate that the system can test the effect of spatial radiation by testing the particle radiation through an optocoupler. Photodiode devices are often used to transfer electrical signals between circuits that are isolated from each other. In addition, Hidding and the team monitor the radiation-induced attenuation by measuring the current transmission ratio of the system.
The conceptual validation experiments described in the American Science Report are likely to be a major breakthrough in the need to leave the Earth to study the effects of space radiation. The next step in the experiment will be to develop standards for testing electronic devices and biological samples. “After all, space radiation is one of the key hurdles that human spaceflight needs to overcome,” says Bernhard Hidding.
Hiddings said that the newly equipped laser at Strathclyde University will also play a key role in future research. “This is the world’s highest average power laser system,” the system is installed in the Scottish Plasma Accelerator Application Center (SCAPA) of the three radiation shielding bunkers, can send up to seven beams of light. “Our research goal is to develop a dedicated 200mw green laser beam for space radiation research and testing and to use it for the ever-evolving space industry in the UK.”