DLR - Astrobiological Simulation Facilities
Facilities for the simulation of environmental factors of free space and on planetary surfaces
The general Astrobiological question deals with the understanding of life and the processes that lead to its origin, evolution and distribution on Earth and beyond, as part of cosmic evolution.
In this context the fully equipped and monitored Planetary and Space Simulation facilities allow a broad range of tests with biological and chemical material individually or integrated into space hardware. In the focus of interest are defined and controlled conditions like ultra-high vacuum, gas compositions, low and high temperature limits, temperature oscillations, extra-terrestrial UV radiation and x-ray.
The analysis of these exposure tests contribute to a deeper under-standing of the individual and synergistic effects of space with the exposed material. In this way they support the design optimisation and verification of spacecraft devices and the selection of the most promising biological candidates and chemical compositions for flight experiments in low Earth orbit or other space destinations.
All of the simulation facilities are necessary:
- for testing of newly developed space hardware
- for investigating the effect of different space parameters on biological systems as preparation for flight experiments
- for performing the "Experiment Verification Tests" (EVT) for the specification of the test parameters
- for performing the "Science Verification Tests" (SVT) by simulating sample assembly, exposure to expected space parameters and sample disassembly
- for the performance of the ground control experiment "Mission Ground Reference Test" (MGR) under simulated space conditions, by parallel exposure of samples to simulated space parameters according to flight data received e.g. by telemetry.
The Planetary and Space simulation facilities allow the investigation of a much wider variety of samples than in space experiments. These simulation chambers offer the possibility to discriminate between the effects of individual space parameters and selected combinations. The experiments already performed proofed the outstanding importance and accentuated need for mission preparation and mission ground reference tests for every space mission. In this way they enable a better ground to space prediction.
PSI 1 LEO (Low Earth Orbit) Simulation
PSI 1 is a horizontally orientated facility. It provides the possibility of a vertical sample accommodation for optical radiation exposure on a cold plate, supported by a cold shroud. Polychromatic radiation is conducted by metal halogenide solar simulators (1000 W / 2000 W). A variety of neutral density filters and cut-off filters are available. For all other applications horizontal sample exposure is possible.
PSI 2 Solar System
PSI 2 is a vertically orientated facility. It provides the possibility of simultaneous radiation exposure of a high amount of samples and their corresponding dark references on two linked stacked copper cooling plates. They guarantee a consistent temperature for both sample layers. Polychromatic radiation is conducted by metal halogenide solar simulators (1000 W/ 2000 W). A variety of neutral density filters and cut-off filters are available.
PSI 3 Deep Space 1
PSI 3 is a vertically orientated facility. It provides the possibility of simultaneous radiation exposure of a moderate amount of samples and their corresponding dark references on four stacked and linked copper cooling plates. They guarantee a consistent temperature for both sample layers. Radiation is conducted with polychromatic light emitted from metal halogenide solar simulators (1000 W / 2000 W). A variety of neutral density filters and cut-off filters are available.
PSI 5 Planetary Environment Simulations (PlanE)
PSI 5 is a vertically orientated facility. It provides the possibility of exposure of a moderate amount of samples on a copper cooling plate. Radiation is conducted with monochromatic light emitted from a low pressure mercury lamp or an inserted D200 deuterium lamp. This simulation chamber has been successfully used for resistance experiments conducted in the frame of the Planetary Protection campaign.
PSI 6 Deep Space 2
PSI 6 is a vertically orientated facility. Radiation is conducted with vacuum-UV radiation emitted from an inserted deuterium lamp or Hg low pressure lamp.
PSI 7 MaSimKa
PSI 7 is a vertically orientated, fully automated Mars simulation device. In addition to simultaneous radiation and temperature regulation it provides the possibility of and humidification between 1.5 – 99.7% relative humidity under a constant pressure between 200 - 1200 Pa to simulate the average diurnal environmental conditions on the planet Mars. A variety of neutral density filters and cut-off filters are available.
PSI 9 Deep Space 3 - Long Duration Facility
PSI 9 is a vertically orientated facility. This simulation chamber has been successfully used for BIOSTACK (EURECA) exposure as preparation for the corresponding flight experiment.
For questions or detailed information please contact:
Dr. Elke Rabbow
German Aerospace Center
Institute of Aerospace Medicine
Radiobiology Division, Astrobiology Team (ME-SB)
Tel +49 2203 - 601 3146
Fax +49 2203 - 61970
Or visit: www.dlr.de/spacesim/
Last update: 23 January 2012