Edinburgh Research Explorer

PELS (Planetary Environmental Liquid Simulator): A New Type of Simulation Facility to Study Extraterrestrial Aqueous Environments

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-118
Number of pages8
JournalAstrobiology
Volume15
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015

Abstract

Investigations of other planetary bodies, including Mars and icy moons such as Enceladus and Europa, show that they may have hosted aqueous environments in the past and may do so even today. Therefore, a major challenge in astrobiology is to build facilities that will allow us to study the geochemistry and habitability of these extraterrestrial environments. Here, we describe a simulation facility (PELS: Planetary Environmental Liquid Simulator) with the capability for liquid input and output that allows for the study of such environments. The facility, containing six separate sample vessels, allows for statistical replication of samples. Control of pressure, gas composition, UV irradiation conditions, and temperature allows for the precise replication of aqueous conditions, including subzero brines under martian atmospheric conditions. A sample acquisition system allows for the collection of both liquid and solid samples from within the chamber without breaking the atmospheric conditions, enabling detailed studies of the geochemical evolution and habitability of past and present extraterrestrial environments. The facility we describe represents a new frontier in planetary simulation-continuous flow-through simulation of extraterrestrial aqueous environments. Key Words: Mars-Liquid-Saline-Planetary simulation. Astrobiology 15, 111-118.

    Research areas

  • EARLY MARS, SERRATIA-LIQUEFACIENS, BACILLUS-SUBTILIS, MERIDIANI-PLANUM, ESCHERICHIA-COLI, BURNS FORMATION, GROWTH, WATER, SURVIVAL, SURFACE

ID: 21168657