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Research and test facilities

The Mars Simulation Laboratory started as a research facility after the first results of the magnetic dust capture on the Pathfinder Lander was collected by the Niels Bohr Institute (NBI), Copenhagen University. At Department of Geology, Aarhus University we had worked with iron oxides which proved to be suitable as mars analogue dust for magnetic capture experiments. This led to construction of the first low pressure wind tunnel for Martian dust experiments, by initiative of prof. Erik Uggerhøj, Department of Physics and Astronomy, and Dr. Per Nørnberg, Department of Geology: This was an extension of the sand transport wind tunnel laboratory that already was running at Department of Geology.

Later on research facilities as a sand saltation tumbler was constructed, and extended with two tumblers for special purposes. The sand saltation facilities and wind tunnels were complemented by a bio-chamber constructed for long-term microbiological experiments under Martian atmospheric and UV conditions.

Magnetic dust capture experiments and experiments with Mössbauer spectroscopy and x-ray fluorescence was part of the NBI wind tunnel experiments, and so was calibration targets on the NASA landers on Mars.