TA2 Facility 20 – OU Mars Chamber
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TA2 Facility – OU Mars Chamber (Planetary Environmental Simulation)

Average visit: 20 days

The Open University Mars Chamber is a large, adaptable environmental simulation chamber suitable for a wide range of scientific and engineering investigations.

At 1.8 m long and 0.9 m diameter, the chamber can recreate martian surface conditions for large-scale surface process studies, or for testing large instruments and equipment assemblies.

The temperature is fully controllable between -70ºC and 100ºC.
Atmospheres are typically N2, CO2, air or bespoke mixtures. The chamber pressure can be reduced to 2 mbar, in as little as 5 minutes, with automated control and logging. Extra filtration and frequent pump maintenance enable experiments that work with large volumes of dust.

Ongoing research includes simulations of mud-volcanism, surface runoff of both water and brine solutions on sediment slopes, CO2 sublimation-driven mass wasting on sediment slopes and CO2 sublimation-driven araneiform and dust plume simulations.

Supporting equipment includes:

  • Pressure control & logging
  • Temperature control & logging
  • High speed video cameras
  • High definition video cameras
  • High speed pyrometer
  • UV solar simulator
  • In situ borescope
  • Photogrammetry camera array & software
  • A variety of data & power feedthroughs
  • Horizontal, vertical & rotational mechanical feedthroughs


Dr Manish Patel, School of Physical Sciences, Open University
Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, United Kingdom, manish.patel@open.ac.uk

Selected publications from previous TA visits to the OU Mars Chamber

Report summaries of TA visits to facility

Lonneke Roelofs prepares her experiment at the Open University Mars Chamber. Credit: L Roelofs
20-EPN2-093: Linear gullies on Mars
TA 2.20: OU Mars Chamber
20-EPN-066: Experimental investigation of CO2 frost condensation and sublimation through sediments...
TA 2.20: OU Mars Chamber
20-EPN2-106: The effect of ice substrate to formation of mud flows in a low-pressure environment:...
Lonneke Roelofs prepares her experiment at the Open University Mars Chamber. Credit: L Roelofs
20-EPN-015: Deciphering fluidisation of mass flows by metastable volatiles on extra-terrestrial...
OU Mars Chamber Credit: P Broz
20-EPN-038: The strange behaviour of highly viscous mud in the low pressure environment: why the...

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