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A neutrino and dark matter detector in space

Presentation #115.01 in the session Multi-Messenger Astrophysics.

Published onJul 01, 2023
A neutrino and dark matter detector in space

The idea to have a neutrino or dark matter detector in space started in 2016 and has developed into a CubeSat flight with a small test detector for a new way to detect neutrinos minimally shielded in space with a double delayed coincidence on Gallium nuclei that have a large cross section for solar neutrino interactions that convert it into an excited state of Germanium which decays with a well-known energy and half-life. This unique signature permits operation of the detector volume mostly unshielded in space. This test detector surrounded by an active veto and shielding will be operated in a polar orbit around the Earth to validate the detector concept and study detailed background spectrums that can fake the timing and energy signature from random galactic cosmic or gamma rays. The success of this new technology development will permit the design of a larger spacecraft with a mission to fly close to the Sun and is of importance to the primary science mission of the Heliophysics division of NASA Space Science Mission Directorate, or be used by going away from the Sun to reduce solar neutrino backgrounds for Dark Matter searches of interest to the Astrophysics division. A third place to enhance the intensity of neutrinos is at the gravitational focus of our Sun of the galactic core, the second brightest neutrino source in the sky, which would be used to image the galactic core in neutrinos of interest to Astrophysics division or to use high energy neutrinos from accretion disks in the galactic core interacting in the atmosphere of Neptune on its dark side to study the interior structure of an Ice-Giant core, which is of interest to the Planetary division scientists. Details on all three of these possible new science studies and how the test CubeSat will advance this new space based technology.

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