Scientists at the University of Leicester’s Space Research Centre are recreating the hostile environment found on Mars in their laboratory, with a device known as the Martian Environment Simulator (MES). The machine reproduces the temperature, air pressure and unbreathable atmosphere known to exist on Mars. The MES is currently being used to test equipment on the Beagle 2 lander, part of the European Space Agency’s Mars Express Spacecraft and due to arrive on Mars during Christmas 2003. The chance of Beagle 2 finding life, either current or past, on the red planet has increased recently due to the discovery of ice beneath the planet’s surface. The MES will be used to test all future instruments for planetary science being developed at the Space Research Centre.
Instruments that work in space need to be thoroughly tested to ensure that they will work in the extreme conditions found there and also to calibrate the readings that will be transmitted back to Earth. Researchers need to be sure that the gases in the atmosphere of another planet will not cause electrical arcing that damages the instruments. The MES creates an environment where the air is made mostly of carbon dioxide and the temperature can vary between a freezing minus 10 degrees Celsius (Martian daytime temperature) and a deadly minus 80 degrees (Martian night). The Martian air pressure at the surface is only 6mbar compared to an average pressure of 1bar on Earth. This means that the air pressure at surface level is lower than that at which the highest altitude commercial flights can travel at on Earth!
The MES incorporates a special sample wheel where geological materials can be attached, making it possible to test instruments designed to analyse rocks or soil on the surface of Mars.
Gill Ormrod | alphagalileo
Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past
28.04.2017 | National Science Foundation
Citizen science campaign to aid disaster response
28.04.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences