-->
New System Developed By Team Of Scientists Can Extract Oxygen And Fuel From Salty Water On Mars

New System Developed By Team Of Scientists Can Extract Oxygen And Fuel From Salty Water On Mars

Mars appears red because of the rusty iron on the ground. Like Earth, Mars has its seasons, polar ice caps, volcanoes, canyons, and weather. It has a very thin atmosphere of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and argon.

In 2008, NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander "touched and tasted" Martian water, the melted ice vapors dug up by the lander. Since then the Mars Express European Space Agency has discovered several subterranean water ponds that remain in a liquid state due to the presence of magnesium perchlorate (Salt).

To live on Mars even temporarily, Astronauts will need water, oxygen to breathe and fuels such as hydrogen to power their equipment. Therefore any water researchers find on Mars will prove invaluable, since they can use electricity and other methods to break down water into both hydrogen and oxygen.

But now researchers at Washington University in St Louis have developed an electrolysis system that can directly extract oxygen and hydrogen from brine water.

A team led by Mr. Vijay Ramani in the US has developed a new system capable of extracting oxygen and hydrogen from the saltwater on Mars and could radically change the logistics of future missions to Mars and beyond.

Water that is salty due to Martian soil cannot be used for drinking purposes. Even electrolysis, the usual method of using electricity to break it down into oxygen, and hydrogen require the removal of salt, this can be done by a cumbersome method, but in harsh, dangerous martial environments it will be extremely expensive and will take up precious cargo space on rockets.

Researchers at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St Louis have, however, developed a system that allows them to extract oxygen and hydrogen from the saltwater.

Electrolysis has been known for about 100 years or more, but mostly uses highly purified, deionized water as feed, but Ramani and his colleagues have developed materials known as lead ruthenate pyrochlore electrocatalysts that could help them electrolyze seawater. The research found that such catalysts could help electrolyze perchlorate brines, generating ultra-pure hydrogen and oxygen at ultra-low temperatures found on the Martian surface.

They examined their system in a simulated Martian atmosphere where the temperature was around -36C, in addition to testing it under typical terrestrial conditions.

Mr. Vijay Ramani said, "Our Martian brine electrolyzer radically changes the logistic calculation of the missions to Mars and beyond. This technology is equally useful on Earth, where oceans are opened up as a viable source of oxygen and hydrogen," he also said, "We can derive oxygen for breathing and hydrogen for fuel using materials on Mars itself the briny water now known to be present there," and "Future missions don't necessarily have to carry those components to Mars, but make them in situ with technology such as ours."

Previously, NASA Mars Perseverance rover Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) showed that it could use electricity to break carbon dioxide into oxygen and carbon monoxide. 

However, this latest research claim that the system developed in Mr. Ramani's laboratory can produce 25 times more oxygen than MOXIE using the same amount of electricity, and can also produce hydrogen that can be used as a fuel.

"This technology is equally useful on Earth where it opens up the oceans as a viable source of oxygen and hydrogen, it can also help Submarine to generate oxygen from seawater on Earth", researchers said.

The research was published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

0 Response to "New System Developed By Team Of Scientists Can Extract Oxygen And Fuel From Salty Water On Mars"

Post a comment