UK Centre for Astrobiology

Low Pressure Flow-Through Chamber

We have a simulation chamber that can be pumped down and chilled to simulate flow-through in Mars-like conditions.

Chamber controller
Most of the environmental parameters of the chamber can be controlled automatically.

Mars has been subject to a range of climatic and hydrological conditions throughout its history. The UKCA at Edinburgh has developed apparatus that allows us to simulate these conditions in the laboratory.

The planetary simulation facility can simulate pressure, temperature, UV illumination and has the facility to regulate the atmospheric gas composition by means of gas mass flow controllers. 

Uniquely, the chamber has been designed with the ability to flow fluids into and out of replicated internal vessels for experiments on e.g. abiotic/biotic rock weathering rates. Historically, highly acidic, saline brines are thought to have existed on Mars and the simulation chamber has been designed with this in mind, using inert components for wetted parts where possible.


Condition   Lower Limit   Upper Limit
Pressure   1 mbar   1 bar
Temperature   -60   40
Samples   1   6
UV   None   Full solar
Chamber variation
The chamber can be configured in a number of different ways depending on the experiment.

Other features

  • Liquid flow-through each 6 sample wells, at individually controllable rates.
  • Liquid effluent collection from individual replicates.
  • Direct sampling of solids from within the chamber while running.
  • Attached residual gas analyzer for gas analysis of chamber atmosphere.
  • Automated control of most environmental parameters.