Characterizing Interstellar Medium, Planetary Surface and Deep Environments by Spectroscopic Techniques Using Unique Simulation Chambers at Centro de Astrobiologia (CAB)

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Mateo Marti, E., Prieto Ballesteros, O., Caro, G. M., González Díaz, C., Muñoz Iglesias, V., Gálvez martínez, S. 2019. Characterizing Interstellar Medium, Planetary Surface and Deep Environments by Spectroscopic Techniques Using Unique Simulation Chambers at Centro de Astrobiologia (CAB). Life Basel 9, 3 DOI: 10.3390/life9030072

At present, the study of diverse habitable environments of astrobiological interest has become a major challenge. Due to the obvious technical and economical limitations on in situ exploration, laboratory simulations are one of the most feasible research options to make advances both in several astrobiologically interesting environments and in developing a consistent description of the origin of life. With this objective in mind, we applied vacuum and high pressure technology to the design of versatile simulation chambers devoted to the simulation of the interstellar medium, planetary atmospheres conditions and high-pressure environments. These simulation facilities are especially appropriate for studying the physical, chemical and biological changes induced in a particular sample by in situ irradiation or physical parameters in a controlled environment. Furthermore, the implementation of several spectroscopies, such as infrared, Raman, ultraviolet, etc., to study solids, and mass spectrometry to monitor the gas phase, in our simulation chambers, provide specific tools for the in situ physico-chemical characterization of analogues of astrobiological interest. Simulation chamber facilities are a promising and potential tool for planetary exploration of habitable environments. A review of many wide-ranging applications in astrobiology are detailed herein to provide an understanding of the potential and flexibility of these unique experimental systems.

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