This flask served as part of a laboratory test simulating the effect of asteroids impacting the ancient Martian atmosphere.

March 25, 2019

A portion of the experimental setup Rafael Navarro-González, an astrobiologist at the Institute of Nuclear Sciences of the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City and a co-investigator with the SAM instrument, and his team of researchers used to simulate asteroid impacts in the early Martian atmosphere.

The flask (center) contains a composition of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and hydrogen gasses. A high-intensity infrared laser is focused into the flask from a lens (left), to simulate the high energy shockwaves produced by asteroids entering the Martian atmosphere. The gas is then evacuated from the flask and analyzed to determine the composition and levels of nitrogen fixation.

Credit

Rafael Navarro-González

ENLARGE

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