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, extraterrestrial 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:
The Astrobiology 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.
For every need, the simulation facilities are adapted, sometimes resulting in the complete conveyance of a facility in a new one. Therefore, the numbers of the facilities are historically founded and not successive.