Physico-chemistry of ices in space: from Earth to the ISS to the solar system and beyond

Blum, J.; Ehrenfreund, P.; Fraser, H.; Garcia Ruiz, J.; Hadamcik, E.; Levasseur-Regourd, A.; Sarkissan, A.; Price, S.; Prodi, F. and Williams, D. (2002). Physico-chemistry of ices in space: from Earth to the ISS to the solar system and beyond. In: 34th COSPAR Scientific Assembly, The Second World Space Congress, 10-19 Oct 2002, Houston, TX, USA..



Ices are observed throughout the universe: in other galaxies, star-forming regions, in the Interstellar Medium (ISM) and in protoplanetary disks. Molecular ices are also widespread in our Solar System: they cover the poles of terrestrial planets (e.g. Earth, Mars), the surfaces of planets, moons, and smaller bodies in the outer solar system (e.g. Europa, comets), and exist in planetary atmospheres, including our own. This ESA-funded Topical Team was formed in response to the International Announcement of Opportunity 2000, in Basic and Applied Physical Sciences, to investigate future research directions in ice physics and chemistry in support of astronomy, aeronomy and atmospheric sciences. These investigations have included laboratory based requirements, experiments under micro- or reduced gravity, and exploration of our local solar system. Many experiments that evaluate the physical and chemical properties of the ice under realistic atmospheric / astronomical conditions require small particles or clouds. In both instances ice studies under microgravity conditions offer significant advantages. By studying the surface and bulk morphology of molecular ices in microgravity over a range of pressure and temperature conditions, we will be able to emulate ice morphologies in other regions of our universe. This will also include the characterization of icy aerosol particles which play an important role in Earth's climate system and in atmospheric chemistry. In this paper we will present the team's key findings, describing the research that is possible with existing laboratory and ISS facilities, as well as planned and future ISS facilities and space-based missions.

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