Project News

The EU FP7 project SR2S (Space Radiation Superconducting Shield) held its final project event in the European Parliament (EP) in Brussels on 01 December 2015, to highlight the results of this three year research project. The EU FP7 funded project aimed to research technologies for a shielding mechanism to project astronauts from harmful radiation during deep space missions.

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Leading Astrophysicist, Dr Joseph Roche from Trinity College Dublin, has formally endorsed the SR2S Mars project. SR2S Mars is an EU FP7 funded research project that has designed a shielding mechanism to protect astronauts during deep space missions, including future missions to Mars.

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The SR2S team has finalised the structural design of the most promising configuration for the magnet researched by SR2S: the pumpkin configuration. The name of this configuration comes from the shape of the magnetic field generated by the superconductor, it is similar to a pumpkin.

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Following on from the July 2014 article on the SR2S project entitled "Radiation shielding to protect a mission to Mars", DG Research and Innovation has published a new article about SR2S entitled "Shields up for manned space exploration". The article outlines how the project's development of a superconducting shield to protect astronauts from exposure to harmful radiation in space is important for the future of long duration deep space missions.

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SR2S scientists recently presented at the International Conference on Magnet Technology (MT24) in Seoul, South Korea in October.

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Alan Archer-Boyd has published a feature article on the SR2S project in the July 2014 issue of "Horizon".

Entitled "Radiation shielding to protect a mission to Mars", the article focusses on the use of superconductors as a method of shielding astronauts from the deadly radiation they would encounter on a mission to Mars, or beyond.

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18 June 2015: On 17th June, EU funded FP7 project SR2S (Space Radiation Superconducting Shield) hosted a one day workshop on the theme of ‘Superconducting Magnet Technology for Space’. This workshop took place in the CEA Institute in Paris, France. The workshop was organised and facilitated by project partners CEA with the support from the SR2S project coordinator, INFN and the project’s dissemination partner, Carr Communications.

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On the 10th of April, the online version of the Italian newspaper "La Stampa" posted a feature on the previous day's workshop conference organised by SR2S and Thales Alenia Space. The article covers the general nature of work carried out by Thales Alenia Space, the scope and aims of the SR2S project and the details some of the guest speaker sessions from the workshop itself.

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Antonella Del Rosso has published an article on the CERN web site about the SR2S project. The article provides an excellent overview of the project's aims and challenges, highlighting CERN's own involvement in working on the superconductor coils, using the same materials that feature in CERN's world-famous Large Hadron Collider.

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Head of project says shield based on super conducting magnets will protect astronauts.

Dr. Roberto Battison, SR2S Project CoordinatorDr. Roberto Battison,
SR2S Project Coordinator
Head of EU Project Space Radiation Superconductive Shield (SR2S) Professor Roberto Battiston believes that the SR2S project will solve the issue of radiation protection in three years and has called on his fellow academics in space research to develop the technology to allow both male and female astronauts to undertake deep space missions. Battiston believes that there is no reason why space technology cannot be sufficiently developed to allow both genders to withstand a long duration stay in space and thus increasing the number of astronauts available to undertake missions.

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The September 2015 issue of "Science Et Vie" contains an article featuring the SR2S project, with quotes from project partner CEA's Bertrand Baudouy and from SR2S Project Coordinator Roberto Battiston.

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In advance of the recent Eucas 2013 conference on Applied Superconductivity (Genova, Italy September 20130, the SR2S team developed a poster to outline the challenges facing the project and avenues of research for potential solutions.

The poster provides information on:

  • the radiation challenges presented by Solar Particle Events and Galactic Cosmic Rays
  • the potential promise in generating a static magnetic field using large superconducting magnets surrounding the spacecraft
  • the use of a toroid shaped magnet and the interaction between the astroparticles and the materials used
  • the maths and computations behind astroparticle motion, the magnet system and the type of conductor to be used.

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Protecting Astronauts in Space is a Real Priority

8 June 2015: On 17th June, EU funded FP7 project SR2S (Space Radiation Superconducting Shield) will host a one day workshop on the theme of ‘Superconducting Magnet Technology for Space’. This workshop will take place in the CEA Institute in Paris, France. The workshop is being organised and facilitated by project partners CEA with the support from the SR2S project coordinator, INFN and the project’s dissemination partner, Carr Communications.

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The reason for the SR2S project is to explore the issues of radiation protection for astronauts as this is the issue which is preventing space missions beyond short Apollo missions.

As the recent NASA Curiosity rover proved, a mission to Mars would expose astronauts to an extremely high level of radiation just on the journey to and from Mars, nevermind the dangers when on the planet itself.

This project is to investigate, design and develop a magnetic shield technology to protect astronauts from space radiation which will enable and support space science and exploration.

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On the 10th of April, the Italian Space Agency  (ASI) and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) signed a collaboration agreement to establish a general framework for mutual collaboration and exchange of information between the Parties, with regard to scientific investigation, research and development, in accordance with their respective tasks and responsibilities.

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The SR2S programme is essential in today and tomorrow’s universal space missions. The next stage in space travel is travelling further into space and developing the necessary technologies to protect astronauts from exposure to severe radiation levels. So why is this important? How come the current developments in radiation protection are not up to sufficient levels to enable deep space travel? Perhaps the recent findings from NASA’s recent trip to Mars via their space rover will shed some light on why the SR2S project is timely and vital.

A detector on NASA's Curiosity rover has confirmed previous research findings on the hazards of space radiation on the way to Mars, and future astronauts making the trip will need protection from the danger.

The Mars rover's radiation-detecting instrument, called RAD, collected data on the mission's eight-month cruise to the red planet in 2011 and 2012, verifying computer models predicting radiation levels on the way to Mars are several hundred times higher than the dose humans receive on Earth.

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This article outlines how the EU FP7 project SR2S is striving to create a protective shielding mechanism to protect astronauts during deep space missions. The project coordinator, Professor Battiston is confident that this project will help solve the the challenge of exposure to radiation in space.

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Team to Develop Technologies to Protect Astronauts on Deep Space Travel Missions.

Seven European organisations have come together as part of an EU Seventh Framework Research Programme with the aim of developing a practical solution to protect astronauts from ionising radiation during periods in space beyond two years - for example a Mission to Mars. The project entitled Space Radiation Superconductive Shield (SR2S) will run for a period of three years.

The collaborative programme, which commenced in January 2013, will see the specialist team explore the development of magnetic shield technology based on super conducting magnets to protect astronauts on deep space missions. The development of such technology would help further space science and exploration and enable long human permanence in space, the next stage in space travel.

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Radiation issues for manned Mars mission

sidebar radiation article

During the rover's cruise to Mars between December 2011 and July 2012, RAD showed that an astronaut would clock up the same radiation dose in a day that the average American receives in a year. If you exclude medical dosages, it would be 10 times more than the average American.

See original article from The Guardian here.

Materials that Halt Hazardous Space Radiation

Radiation has long been an issue when it comes to space travel. In fact, NASA's Mars rover Curiosity recently confirmed previous research on the hazards of space radiation, revealing that radiation levels on the way to the Red Planet are several hundred times higher than the those humans receive on Earth. Now, scientists may have found a way to shield astronauts from the hazards of this radiation.

See original article from Science World Report here.

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Current Project Status

The SR2S project is nearing completion. Project partners presented their technological achievements at the final project dissemination event in Brussels in December 2015. To read more about this event, click here.

Next Project Milestone

The final project review meeting will take place in January 2016. Further information and final project results will be available after this date.

Got a question?

If you have a questions about the SR2S project, why not send us an email and we'll try to reply to your query as soon as possible. You can email us at questions@sr2s.eu

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