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The JEM-EUSO instrument

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In this paper we describe the main characteristics of the JEM-EUSO instrument. The Extreme Universe Space Observatory on the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM-EUSO) of the International Space Station (ISS) will observe Ultra High-Energy Cosmic Rays (UHECR) from space. It will detect UV-light of Extensive Air Showers (EAS) produced by UHECRs traversing the Earth’s atmosphere. For each event, the detector will determine the energy, arrival direction and the type of the primary particle. The advantage of a space-borne detector resides in the large field of view, using a target volume of about 1012 tons of atmosphere, far greater than what is achievable from ground. Another advantage is a nearly uniform sampling of the whole celestial sphere. The corresponding increase in statistics will help to clarify the origin and sources of UHECRs and characterize the environment traversed during their production and propagation. JEM-EUSO is a 1.1 ton refractor telescope using an optics of 2.5 m diameter Fresnel lenses to focus the UV-light from EAS on a focal surface composed of about 5,000 multi-anode photomultipliers, for a total of ≃3⋅105 channels. A multi-layer parallel architecture handles front-end acquisition, selecting and storing valid triggers. Each processing level filters the events with increasingly complex algorithms using FPGAs and DSPs to reject spurious events and reduce the data rate to a value compatible with downlink constraints.

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  1. TRL 5 corresponds to component and/or breadboard validation in relevant environment.

  2. Until the end of 2013 the HTV spacecraft was considered the main vehicle to transport JEM-EUSO to the orbit.

  3. The HTV accommodation and design is still valid in case this launcher is used.


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This paper is dedicated to the memory of Prof. Y. Takahashi.

This work was partially supported by Basic Science Interdisciplinary Research Projects of RIKEN and JSPS KAKENHI Grant (22340063, 23340081, and 24244042), by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Direction for the Cultural Promotion and Cooperation, by the Helmholtz Alliance for Astroparticle Physics HAP funded by the Initiative and Networking Fund of the Helmholtz Association, Germany, and by Slovak Academy of Sciences MVTS JEM-EUSO as well as VEGA grant agency project 2/0081/10. The Spanish Consortium involved in the JEM-EUSO Space Mission is funded by MICINN under projects AYA2009- 06037-E/ESP, AYA-ESP 2010-19082, AYA2011-29489-C03-01, AYA2012-39115-C03-01, CSD2009-00064 (Consolider MULTIDARK) and by Comunidad de Madrid (CAM) under project S2009/ESP-1496. The work was also supported by ESA under the Topical Team program on “EUSO” by the DLR, the national aeronautics and space research centre of the Federal Republic of Germany, by Creative Research Initiatives of MEST/NRF (RCMST) in Korea and by the Mexican PAPIIT-UNAM, RedCyTE, RedFAE, CONACyT and AEM. We acknowledge the support from MAE – Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and INFN – National Institute of Nuclear Physics. LWP acknowledges support by JSPS.

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Correspondence to M. Casolino.

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The JEM-EUSO Collaboration., Adams, J.H., Ahmad, S. et al. The JEM-EUSO instrument. Exp Astron 40, 19–44 (2015).

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