Lovelock's apparatus designed for the surface atmosphere on Mars

Made:
1960-1969
maker:
James Ephraim Lovelock

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Large jar, part of work for NASA to see if detectors would work at Mars surface atmospheric pressure. Part of the
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Large jar containing a detector, part of James Lovelock's work for NASA to see if detectors would work at Mars' surface atmospheric pressure, 1960s

Lovelock created this fantastic-looking apparatus while working on NASA’s Viking mission to Mars. He built it in his home laboratory, using an ordinary kitchen Kilner jar and a home-made lid. The detector was sealed inside the jar and air was removed via the valve on the left to replicate Martian atmospheric pressure.

In previous research Lovelock’s chemical detectors had starkly revealed the extent of humanity’s impact on the environment. His electron capture detector, developed in the 1950s, revealed man-made pollution at the poles.

Details

Category:
Experimental Chemistry
Object Number:
2012-125
type:
detector
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle
  • vessel
credit:
Lovelock, James Ephraim

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