We present characteristics of hadronic cascades from interactions of cosmic rays in the atmosphere, simulated by the novel CORSIKA 8 framework. The simulated spectra of secondaries, such as pions, kaons, baryons and muons, are compared with cascade equations solvers CONEX and MCEq in air shower mode and full 3D air shower Monte Carlo simulations using the legacy CORSIKA 7 and AIRES. A novel capability of CORSIKA 8 is the simulation of cascades in media other than air, widening the scope of potential simulation applications. We demonstrate this capability by simulating cosmic ray showers in the Martian atmosphere. The CORSIKA 8 framework demonstrates good accuracy and robustness compared to previous results, in particular in those relevant for the production of muons in air showers. Furthermore, hyperons are studied as a messenger from high-density QCD and as an important precursor for high-energy secondaries, including neutrinos. It was also found that interactions of strange baryons can have non-negligible importance for cascade development that require extra care when using any such model in all contexts.
CORSIKA 8, UHECR, extensive air showers, interaction models