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International School of Heavy Ions

The human mission to Mars is a major enterprise for the mankind in the XXI century. Space agencies consider Mars the ultimate goal of exploration, and the recent Inspiration Mars project propose a flyby in 2018. The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) and the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) are now in space and provide careful measurements of the radiation field on the route to Mars and on the planet, supporting previous simulations pointing to radiation as a major showstopper for the mission. However, health risk related to exposure to energetic protons is affected by large uncertainties, due to the unique radiation field experienced in space compared to the background radiation on Earth. Nevertheless, medicine has experience on effects of charged particles in humans, gathered by treating over 100,000 patients worldwide with high-energy protons and heavy ions. The success of this therapy has been made possible by past, present and future contribution of physicists: accelerators, detectors, beam delivery, treatment planning software are typical examples.

The course is a unique attempt to bring together the top world experts in particle therapy and space travel to discuss the problems related to the exposure of humans to high-energy protons and heavy ions. The current status of particle therapy for cancer worldwide will be described with emphasis on side effects, including second cancer. Recent data from space mission will then be described, along with simulations of the radiation risk for the Mars mission and possible countermeasures for risk mitigation. We aim to producing a Consensus Documents on Radiation Risk for a Human Mission to Mars, contributed by both physicists and medical doctors.



Director of the School of Heavy Ions:
Dr. Eugenio Nappi (INFN, Bari, Italy)

Director of the Course:
Dr. Marco Durante (GSI, Darmstadt, Germany)
Dr. Roberto Battiston (University of Trento, Italy)


For all the logistic aspects:

Secretary of the Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture
phone +39 0923 869133

For what concerns the course:

prof. Marco Durante, PhD
GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Head of the Biophysics Department
office  +49 (0)6159 71 2009
mobile +49 (0)174 328 1535