TA2 Facility 6 – DLR Planetary Analogue Simulation Laboratory (PASLAB)
Average visit: 5 days
The DLR Mars Simulation Facility (MSF) & Planetary Analogue Simulation Laboratory (PASLAB) recreates Mars and other planetary environmental conditions by a controlled gas mixing system mixing up to 5 gases (e.g. CO2/N2/Ar/CH4/O2) with H2O, with a resulting pressure of 6 – 10 mbar(Mars) and up to 1 bar (Earth-like conditions) over two different Mars analogue regolith mixtures, P-MRS, S-MRS. The facility allows computer controlled diurnal cycles of radiation (190 nm – 2200 nm), humidity (rh % 0 to 100) and temperature (-70°C to 130°C).
The key characteristics of this Laboratory Facility are:
- The ability to accommodate, prepare and test biological samples and space relevant sensors under Martian conditions.
- In situ measurements and data collection of photosynthesis.
- Use of gases with isotopic markers.
- Switch from a closed to a volume flow gas humidity system.
- Tests on microorganisms, minerals and on humidity and temperature. sensor instrumentation under Martian environments can be performed.
The current upgrade of a planetary simulation chamber allows the exposure of (non-)biological samples to exoplanetary conditions around M-dwarf stars (e.g. radiation). The upgrade also allows measurements of metabolic activities, such as those observed in the methane production by methanogens and other metabolically caused gas exchange such as CO2 uptake and O2 release during photosynthesis using a mass spectrometer.
Mickael Baqué (Mickael.Baque@dlr.de) and Andreas Lorek (Andreas.Lorek@dlr.de), DLR, Institute of Planetary Research, Rutherfordstr. 2, 12489 Berlin, Germany.
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