SCIENTISTS have been firing cosmic rays at microchips to see how they will fare in the desolations of space.
It is hoped that the work will give greater understanding of the threat the invisible rays can cause to electronics, especially those onboard satellites and aircraft.
Experts believe the radioactive particles which often shower the Earth may in part originate from massive stars, such as supernovas outside the solar system.
The experiments to test their effects are being done at ISIS centre, at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Harwell.
The first round of testing for the project, known as ChipIR, has been completed and the full-scale experiment will start next year.
Project member Dr Chris Frost said: “We have created a test facility that will allow the electronics industry to rapidly assess the vulnerabilities of their devices. We can mimic the cosmic rays’ neutrons and work out why [electronics] are being disrupted.”
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