Space

NASA Scientists Think They Might Be Able to Use Martian Soil as Rocket Fuel

JustForex


A major problem with Mars missions: Bringing enough fuel for a return journey.

In a striking new first-person account in IEEE Spectrum, NASA team lead Kurt Leucht writes about how the space agency is hard at work on a potential solution he hopes will let future Mars missions – or even colonists – extract rocket fuel from Martian soil.

 

Leucht’s team calls the system “in situ resource utilization,” or ISRU, but he prefers to call it a “dust-to-thrust factory”.

The idea is that the ISRU will extract water from regolith – that’s a fancy name for Mars’ distinctive red soil, which scientists believe contains trace amounts of water – and use electrolysis to strip it into hydrogen and oxygen.

Then it’ll combine the hydrogen with carbon from the Red Planet’s atmosphere to make methane, which can work as a rocket fuel.

NASA plans to send the ISRU system ahead of a human Mars mission, along with robots that’ll gather soil from the planet’s surface.

A few years later humans will come along, stay for a while, and eventually use the fuel it produced to fly back home.

“This technology will one day allow humans to live and work on Mars,” he wrote, “and return to Earth to tell the story”

This article was originally published by Futurism. Read the original article.

 



Source link

JustForex

Articles You May Like

Sloths Are Better at Adapting Than We Ever Gave Them Credit For
This Harvard Astronomer Is Still Saying That ‘Oumuamua Could Be an Alien Probe
Mathematicians Have Developed a Computing Problem That AI Can Never Solve
Physicists Have Built a Machine That Actually Breaks Two Rules of Light
‘Father of DNA’ James Watson Stripped of Honors Over More Ugly Racism Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *