Planetary Analogue Simulation Laboratory

DLR - German Aerospace Center
last updated: July 19, 2023

About the Laboratory

Planetary Analogue Simulation Laboratory

DLR - German Aerospace Center
@ Institute of Planetary Research / Planetary Laboratories
This Laboratory is part of:


  • Tbd
Visit us on our website in DE / EN


The Planetary Analog Simulation Facility-Laboratory (PASLAB) at the DLR is used for different astrobiological, chemical and physical experiments to simulate variations in key environmental conditions like pressure, temperature, radiation and gas composition, under conditions ranging from Earth-like (including Early Earth) to the near-surface atmosphere of Martian mid- and low latitudes and exoplanets (e.g. temperature range between -70 °C to +20 °C, low pressures 6 to 10 mbar, etc.). The DLR PASLAB recreates such as the DLR MSF Lab the planet Mars and in addition other planetary environmental conditions with reference to exoplanets by a controlled gas mixing system mixing up to 5 gases (e.g. CO₂/N₂/Ar, or H₂/CH₄/O₂) with H₂O.
During the planetary simulations measurements can be made on trace humidity in gases, relative humidity, water activity, material- and soil moisture, pressure, temperature, current, resistance, voltage, gas analysis, photosynthetic activity and other metabolic activities, as well as growth capacity of microorganisms. All measurements are camera and computer controlled, monitored and stored during the experiments.
The PASLAB is the only European facility with the capability to switch from a flow through gas humidity system to a humidity controlled closed volume gas system and mimicking diurnal cycles. The closed option allows further work with gases containing trace marker isotopes for analysis of gas fixation or release of gases by microorganisms under a diurnal control of humidity cycles. It is also the only facility, which measures photosynthetic light reactions within photosynthesizing microorganisms during the experiments with different solar and star irradiation conditions for open surface conditions and semi-shielded niche conditions. An additional role of the laboratory is testing gas-, humidity- and temperature-sensors and the development of trace humidity sensors for space and industrial applications. PASLAB is also equipped with a complete microbiology/molecular biology setup to directly support simulation experiments with control growth chambers for exposed organisms. It is possible to perform for instance DNA extractions, PCR, gel electrophoresis, UV/VIS spectrophotometry.


  • Chlorophyll Fluorometer, Imaging-PAM Device, Mini-PAM Device
  • Mars and Planetary Simulation Chamber
  • Clean Bench
  • Anaerobic Chamber
  • UV-VIS Spectrophotometer
  • Pressure Sensor

Analytical Methods

  • DNA Amplification, DNA Enrichment
  • UV-VIS Spectrophotometry
    UV-VIS Spectroscopy

Laboratory Keywords

  • Camera Observation
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Gas-exchange
  • Imaging-PAM
  • Mars Simulation
  • Mini-PAM
  • Molecular Biology
  • Observation of Changes in Minerals, Salts and Chemicals
  • Organisms' Activity
  • Photosynthetic Activity
  • Planetary Simulation
  • Soil Morphology
  • T, rh, p, λ-measurements