About the Facility

The Laboratory for Spectroscopy under Planetary Environmental Conditions (LabSPEC) contains two vacuum environmental chambers used to conduct reflectance spectroscopy and experiments.

The ultra-high-vacuum (UHV) environmental chamber allows scientists to replicate the pressure and temperature conditions present at a wide range of airless planetary bodies, such as asteroids. The chamber is equipped with spectrometers so that we can conduct reflectance spectroscopy in the ultraviolet, visible and near-infrared environments. An ion gun, an electron gun and a laser are attached to the UHV chamber that can be used to understand the effects of radiation on the surfaces of airless planetary bodies.

The Material Reflectance Spectroscopy vacuum environmental chamber provides visible to near-infrared reflectance wavelength spectroscopy under low pressures (roughly 100,000 times lower than atmospheric pressures) while samples can be dosed with liquids (brines, for example) to explore aqueous alteration processes on planetary surfaces and give insight into how features form.