Astronomers Aim to Detect Radiation From the International Space Station Using Optical Fibers

Astronomers Aim to Detect Radiation From the International Space Station Using Optical Fibers

Electronics and people need to be protected from radiation while we’re talking about outer space. The International Space Station (ISS) is present high above the surface of Earth after its launch in 1998, and it will continue activating there for quite a while. Therefore, detecting threats posed by radiation is practically mandatory. reveals the latest implementation of the Lumina experiment onboard the ISS as part of the ALPHA mission. The French Space Agency, CNES, and CERN had been involved in the project. The goal is to measure ionizing radiation in the ISS through two optical fibers.

How it works

Daniel Ricci, who is the leader of the Fiber Optics section from the Engineering department of CERN, explains as quoted by

When exposed to the space radiative environment, the optical fibers experience a partial loss of transmitted power, which we call radiation-induced attenuation.

Diego Di Francesca, who is fiber-dosimetry project leader of the team, declared as also cited by

Using a reference control channel, the radiation-induced attenuation of some special optical fibers can be accurately measured and put in relation with the total ionizing dose. The sensitivity of the device is mostly governed by the length of the fiber. Depending on the dosimeter design, the longer the optical fiber dosimeter, the more sensitive it is. brings some exciting facts about the International Space Station. For instance, the spacecraft zips around the planet once every 90 minutes, and there’s no wonder why considering the huge speed of 5 miles per second. During only 24 hours, the ISS completes 16 orbits of Earth.

The International Space Station represents a multinational collaborative project that involves five participating space agencies: NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency), Roscosmos from Russia, JAXA from Japan, and CSA (the Canadian Space Agency).


Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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