Mimicking the Martian Hydrological Cycle: A Set-Up to Introduce Liquid Water in Vacuum

Sensors (Basel). 2020 Oct 29;20(21):6150. doi: 10.3390/s20216150.


Liquid water is well known as the life ingredient as a solvent. However, so far, it has only been found in liquid state on this planetary surface. The aim of this experiment and technological development was to test if a moss sample is capable of surviving in Martian conditions. We built a system that simulates the environmental conditions of the red planet including its hydrological cycle. This laboratory facility enables us to control the water cycle in its three phases through temperature, relative humidity, hydration, and pressure with a system that injects water droplets into a vacuum chamber. We successfully simulated the daytime and nighttime of Mars by recreating water condensation and created a layer of superficial ice that protects the sample against external radiation and minimizes the loss of humidity due to evaporation to maintain a moss sample in survival conditions in this extreme environment. We performed the simulations with the design and development of different tools that recreate Martian weather in the MARTE simulation chamber.

Keywords: artificial atmosphere; mars simulation; moss survival; water cycle.