What is it about?

The VENUS device has a chamber designed to replicate the strong vacuum of space, while holding a frigid temperature near to absolute zero. It uses up to five beams to deliver atoms or molecules onto a tiny sliver of cosmic ice analog. That process replicates how molecules form on the ice that sits atop tiny dust particles found inside interstellar clouds. VENUS is the first device to do the replication with more than three beams, which lets researchers simulate more complicated interactions.

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Why is it important?

This device will be working in concert with other scientists who discover molecular reactions in space using space and ground-based telescopes and need laboratory spectra to correctly interpret what they have observed. For example, the work in the lab with VENUS can complement the wealth of data that will come from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, whose launch is scheduled for 2021.


The VENUS apparatus can replicate how prebiotic molecular species form in the interstellar dense clouds and protoplanetary disks, offering researchers insight into life's first steps in space.

Emanuele Congiu
CY Cergy Paris Université

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: A new multi-beam apparatus for the study of surface chemistry routes to formation of complex organic molecules in space, Review of Scientific Instruments, December 2020, American Institute of Physics,
DOI: 10.1063/5.0018926.
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