BEXCO - Room B(103/104/105)
[CRI243] The EUSO missions to study UHECR from space: status and perspectives
The observation of Ultra-high-energy cosmic rays (UHECR) from space offers several advantages such as large exposure, uniform observation of both celestial hemispheres, uniform detector response. The EUSO collaboration is implementing a mission based on the International Space Station, KLYPVE-EUSO, which will observe UHECR from space for the first time. To this purpose, we have developed high-performance electronics and optical systems which meet the science requirements and the constraints (mass, power, hardness...) of space-borne detectors. These systems have been extensively tested and calibrated with the installation of a ground based telescope on Telescope Array site (EUSO-TA, 2013-current) and the first flight of a Balloon from Canada (EUSO-Balloon, 2014). A second generation of greatly improved detectors has been developed and two additional pathfinders with complementary scientific objectives will be in operation in 2017: i) EUSO-SPB, a NASA Super Pressure Balloon payload scheduled to fly from New Zealand in Spring 2017, which consists of two, 1 square meter Fresnel lenses which focus light on a Photo Detector Module (PDM) with 2304 pixel and is devoted to the first observation of UHECR in the UV from the upper atmosphere. ii) Mini-EUSO, a telescope to be placed on the International Space Station by Autumn 2017 as part of the ‘Vita’ (‘Life’) mission of astronaut Paolo Nespoli. Mini-EUSO has two 25 cm diameter Fresnel lenses coupled to the same PDM. Its science objectives are the study of UV emission of natural (bioluminescence, environment), astronomical (meteors, search for Strange Quark Matter, search for E>10E21 eV induced showers) and artificial (laser-generated shower-like signal) origin. In this contribution we will review the status and perspectives of the Klypve-EUSO mission as well as of the EUSO-SPB and Mini-EUSO pathfinders.