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PSI's Isaac Smith Matching Conditions on South Pole of Mars

Isaac's pressure, temp chamber

This early version of Isaac Smith’s pressure and temperature chamber has produced fast dry ice growth and fracturing. A more advanced device being built to produce conditions even closer to what is found on Mars should be ready by November.


PSI Research Scientist Isaac Smith is building a new, more advanced chamber to do CO2 ice experiments under pressures and temperatures that better match conditions at the south pole of Mars. 

“The chamber is multi-capable, but I'm using it to reach pressures and temperatures that match conditions at the south pole of Mars – where the CO2 atmosphere deposits on the surface as frost. In our first round of experiments, we've already replicated published results of fast dry ice growth and fracturing,” Smith said. “Still, this is primitive because temperature and pressure control are done manually. My research group will develop the tools to automate those parameters to maintain a very small delta – even closer to the conditions at Mars. 

“I’m building a bigger, more capable chamber that has good thermal and pressure controls,” Smith said. “But this feels like a great starting point!”





Oct. 27, 2019
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