Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"Mars Chamber"

Researchers in Spain have invented a chamber that stimulates conditions on the Martian surface.

The chamber duplicates the atmospheric pressure and composition, temperature and dust conditions on Mars. The goal is to test scientific equipment before deployment to the Martian surface. It might also be used to test Martian surface suits, even door seals for a colony.

This is vital. Dust is going to be the biggest problem faced by any settlement on Mars, and normal airlocks probably won't keep it out. It's high in silicate - so settlers exposed to it risk contracting silicosis - what used to be called "black lung." Testing dust containment and exclusion systems on Earth thus greatly increases the chance of the success of a colony.

(Why didn't somebody do this before?)