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updated by Laura Cinti - 08 May 2007

As part of our our project The Martian Rose which featured a rose inside a chamber designed for viewing. The rose was subjected to Martian environment through proxy simulation using a planetary vacuum chamber. The experiment took place on the 27th March 2007 at the Mars Simulation Laboratory in Denmark. Two (terrestrial) roses were exposed to the harsh environment of Mars.

the two roses prior to exposure, © c-lab 2007

Due to the limitations of the metallic cylindrical tubes, the roses selected were miniature variations of the red rose. The tubes were used to insert (and release) the roses into a carousel with slots in chamber. The roses were freshly prepared the evening before and cut according to the size dimensions of the tubes.

rose inside the chamber, © c-lab 2007

Once inside the chamber, the roses were exposed to a constant pressure around  10 millibar, cooled using liquid nitrogen and were positioned with UV light directly onto the roses one at a time.

roses are released from the chamber, © c-lab 2007

The roses were removed from the chamber and were frozen as they had been exposed to temperatures of -62 degrees Celcius.

roses after 6 hrs of exposure, © c-lab 2007

After thawing, we had to be very careful in handling the roses as they would collapsed having been exposed to such low pressure. The loss in turgor pressure of the plants seemed to have remained suspended by the cooling until the thawing began.

We'd like to extend our sincerest gratitude and appreciation to Dr Jon Merrison for conducting the experiment with us and to Dr Per Nørnberg for helping to co-ordinate the experiment.

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