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Search for UHECRs from Space: The JEM-EUSO Program.

Ricci M. per la Collaborazione JEM-EUSO
  Giovedì 29/09   09:00 - 13:00   Edificio Psicologia 2 - Aula 2E   III - Astrofisica
JEM-EUSO is an international project aiming at developing a long-term observatory in space devoted to the detection of Ultra High Energy Cosmic Rays (UHECRs) at highest energies, $i.e.$ around and above $10^{20}$ eV. It is intended to address basic problems of fundamental physics and high-energy astrophysics by investigating the nature and origin of UHECRs. The main instrument is based upon a wide-field, large-aperture telescope to look down from space onto the Earth's night sky to detect UV photons emitted from air showers generated by UHECRs in the atmosphere. The observation of UHECRs from space has the unique advantage of full-sky coverage and of an extremely large area that can be monitored, allowing unprecedented exposures, significantly larger than those achievable by current ground-based observatories. The program is proceeding in different steps. Originally conceived to be placed on the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) of the International Space Station (ISS), the mission is currently in an advanced study phase to be applied in response to forthcoming Calls and Announcements of Opportunity for missions in space, to be released by ESA and NASA. Meanwhile, to test the hardware performance in real conditions, either in space, or in the upper atmosphere or at ground, different pathfinders (prototype test experiments) of JEM-EUSO have been developed in the last years: the first, $EUSO-Balloon$ (managed by the French Space Agency, CNES) successfully flew on board a stratospheric balloon in August 2014 from Canada; a second, $EUSO-TA$ on ground at the Telescope Array site in Utah (in cooperation with the Telescope Array Collaboration), is currently in operation. A third, $Mini-EUSO/UV-atmosphere$, approved by the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos) and by the Italian Space Agency (ASI), will be installed in 2017 on the Russian module of the ISS to perform observations and measurements of Atmosphere and Earth in UV. Finally, a long-duration Super Pressure Balloon flight, $EUSO-SPB$ (managed by NASA), will be launched from New Zealand in Spring 2017 to observe cosmic ray showers from the upper atmosphere. Scientific, technical and programmatic aspects of the main program and its pathfinders are presented.