The Cometary and Space Simulation chamber at the Institute for Space Research of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Graz, Austria is a Cyro-Vacuum-Chamber and has a size of 40 x 40 cm or with an option of making it higher of 40 x 60 cm. The size for simulation experiments is in the order of 25 x 25 cm or 25 x 60 cm.
The pressures which could be used for simulation experiments have a range between 1E-5 mbar and 1bar. Liquid nitrogen could be used for cooling the chamber of stable 100 K. This temperature range is enough if one would like to simulate Martian conditions.
The Chamber can be used for experiments with:
Cometary analogue material
CO2 ice or snow
Regolith analogue material
Mars soil analogue
The chamber could be used for experiments in simulated space vacuum, and experiments in simulated planetary atmospheres like in the case of Mars a CO2 / N2 mixture.
The chamber was used for the performance of experiments to determine thermomechanical properties of sublimation residua for ESA's Rosetta mission. Laboratory experiments showed that organic molecules like aliphatic hydrocarbons influenced the thermal conductivity of ice and dust mixtures, as they might occur on comets or the surface of icy satellites.
Future research activities concentrate also on studies of solar system ices, on experiments with Mars soil analogue material and UV exposure studies for Exo/Astrobiology projects.
Dr. Norbert Kömle
Dr. Günter Kargl
Space Research Institute
Austrian Academyof Sciences
Schmiedlstr. 6, A-8042 Graz
Phone: 0043 316 4120 651 / Fax: &690
E-mail: norbert.koemle at oeaw.ac.at, guenter.kargl at oeaw.ac.at
Fig. 1: This image shows the Cometary and Space Simulation chamber.