Nuclear fragmentation database for GCR transport code development
Journal article, 2010
A critical need for NASA is the ability to accurately model the transport of heavy ions in the Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCR) through matter, including spacecraft walls, equipment racks, etc. Nuclear interactions are of great importance in the GCR transport problem, as they can cause fragmentation of the incoming ion into lighter ions. Since the radiation dose delivered by a particle is proportional to the square of (charge/velocity), fragmentation reduces the dose delivered by incident ions. The other mechanism by which dose can be reduced is ionization energy loss, which can lead to some particles stopping in the shielding. This is the conventional notion of shielding, but it is not applicable to human spaceflight since the particles in the GCR tend to be too energetic to be stopped in the relatively thin shielding that is possible within payload mass constraints. Our group has measured a large number of fragmentation cross sections, intended to be used as input to, or for validation of, NASA's radiation transport models. A database containing over 200 charge-changing cross sections and over 2000 fragment production cross sections has been compiled. In this report, we examine in detail the contrast between fragment measurements at large acceptance and small acceptance. We use output from the PHITS Monte Carlo code to test our assumptions using as an example Ar-40 data (and simulated data) at a beam energy of 650 MeV/nucleon. We also present preliminary analysis in which isotopic resolution was attained for beryllium fragments produced by beams of B-10 and B-11. Future work on the experimental data set will focus on extracting and interpreting production cross sections for light fragments. (C) 2010 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Galactic Cosmic Rays