Research & Science Home ESA Public Web Site Sci-Tech Portal ESA Intranet     
Astrophysics Missions Planetary Exploration Missions Solar Terrestrial Science Missions Fundamental Physics Missions Science Faculty

EUSO ESA Home Page
EUSO Mission Home
EUSO France
EUSO Japan
Restricted Items
IT Services
Document Portal
My Portal
Restricted Access Logon
Restricted Search (Guest)

EUSO - The Extreme Universe Space Observatory

The Earth is being continuously bombarded by high-energy particles known as cosmic rays. While moderate energy cosmic rays almost certainly originate from comparatively well understood objects in our own Galaxy, such as the expanding shocks of exploded stars, understanding the origin of the highest energy cosmic rays is one of the great challenges in astrophysics. Although these extreme energy cosmic rays (EECR) are very rare (only around 1 per square kilometre per century!) they are the most energetic particles known in the Universe. Because they are so rare, only a few dozen such events have been detected using different ground based air shower detectors in the past 30 years. There has been no convincing identification of any of these events with a likely astronomical source.

EUSO is the cylindrical structure attached to the left side of ESA's Columbus External Payload Facility. The docking port for the Space Shuttle and the Japanese module can be seen to the right of the Columbus module.

EUSO is an ambituous proposal, under study by ESA's Human Spaceflight and Science Directorates, to investigate EECR from space by using the Earth's atmosphere as a giant cosmic ray detector. The Principal Investigator is Prof. L. Scarsi from IASF, Palermo. EUSO will observe the flash of fluorescence light and the reflected Cerenkov light produced when an EECR interacts with the Earth's atmosphere. Imaging of the light track will allow the sky position and energy of the event to be reconstructed. By looking down from the International Space Station with a 60 degree field of view, EUSO will detect around 1000 events per year allowing a sensitive search for the objects producing EECR.

The phase A study was formally completed and EUSO was declared technically ready to proceed to phase B at the Phase A review board meeting of 15 July 2004. The Astronomy Working Group (AWG) and the Fundamental Physics Advisory Group (FPAG) reviewed the scientific case of EUSO at a joint session in May 2004. They concluded that the project was not at the top of their priorities and were unable to recommend its continuation into phase B. This conclusion was later endorsed by the Space Science Advisory Committee (SSAC) at its meeting of May 26, 2004.

     Copyright © 2015 European Space Agency. All rights reserved.
This page was first created on 27 January, 2004 and was last updated on 1 April, 2005.
Password Synchronization

The RSSD Web Portal provides a single login facility to simplify access to several other applications within this site.

The login facility has detected that you have passwords to one or more of these other systems (Livelink, Mantis, CVS, etc.) which do not match your current LDAP password.

By clicking on [SYNCHRONIZE] you will be able to reset all these passwords and bring them into line with your main portal password with no further effort on your part.

Synchronizing Passwords - Please Wait

Logging In - Please Wait