24/7 Space News
MARSDAILY
Scientists proposed to adapt a Mars ISRU system to the changing Mars environment
File image of the MOXIE instrument package onboard NASA's Perseverance rover on Mars.
Scientists proposed to adapt a Mars ISRU system to the changing Mars environment
by Simon Mansfield
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Aug 21, 2023

Human missions to Mars necessitate an efficient launch system to ascend from the planet and rendezvous with Earth-bound return vehicles. The critical component for this ambitious task? Oxygen. Not only for ascent propellants but possibly also for life support.

To facilitate a crew of six astronauts, approximately 30 metric tons of oxygen propellants would be required for ascent. This significant amount would be cumbersome and costly to transport from Earth. The solution? Produce it right on Mars.

Drawing oxygen from Mars' abundant carbon dioxide (CO2) presents a significant advantage. This innovative technique is part of an approach termed in situ resource utilization (ISRU). Recent accomplishments, such as the Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment (MOXIE) Project, have demonstrated the viability of a prototype system that can successfully convert Martian CO2 into oxygen (O2). Now, the focus shifts towards elevating this prototype into a fully operational system.

In their latest research, published in Space: Science and Technology, researchers Donald Rapp and Eric Hinterman lay the groundwork for a full-scale Mars ISRU system. Their model proposes producing 30 metric tons of liquid oxygen over 14 months, accounting for the diurnal and seasonal shifts in the Mars environment.

Their study outlines the ISRU system's architecture, setting the stage with a straightforward layout. Central to this system are electrolysis cells or stacks of these cells. These cells are responsible for converting Martian CO2 into oxygen. As they function, a compressor draws in the Mars atmosphere, compressing it from Mars' pressure to the designated stack pressure. A subsequent process involving heat exchangers pre-warms the incoming gas to the stack temperature before it's introduced into the electrolysis cells.

The system's intricacies are vast. For efficient oxygen production, the voltage across these cells needs to remain between specific parameters: above the 0.96 V Nernst voltage for oxygen production and below the 1.13 V Nernst voltage, where unwanted carbon deposition could occur.

Operational considerations are equally detailed. The proposed 14-month (420-sol) run aims to maintain an average oxygen production rate of 3.0 kg/h, leading to a total of 30,240 kg of oxygen. Various control schemes have been proposed to optimize operations, factoring in the electrolysis stacks, the compressor's revolutions per minute (RPM), and other system components.

Delving deeper into the technicalities, the researchers scrutinized area-specific cell resistance, current density, and flow rate across different control strategies. Each option displayed its unique characteristics, with specific operational voltages and configurations. Some configurations approached the boundaries of operational feasibility, signaling potential concerns.

In their analysis, the researchers provided a comprehensive understanding of power requirements. For the solid oxide electrolysis (SOXE) system, the electrochemical power varied between the control options, with additional power needs for preheating and compensating for heat loss. The study also examined the compressor's efficiency, taking into account motor losses and other factors. Finally, the rate of heat extraction from the system by the cryocooler was gauged, essential for cooling gaseous oxygen to its boiling point and subsequently liquefying it.

This extensive study on the ISRU system offers a promising step towards making Mars missions more self-sufficient, allowing future astronauts to utilize the resources of the Red Planet for their benefit.

Research Report:Adapting a Mars ISRU System to the Changing Mars Environment

Related Links
Beijing Institute of Technology
Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
Lunar Dreams and more

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters
Tweet

RELATED CONTENT
The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
MARSDAILY
Phoenix's Red Planet Selfie
Pasadena CA (JPL) Aug 11, 2023
NASA's Mars Phoenix Lander gathered images of itself for this selfie from June 5 through July 12, 2008, with its Surface Stereo Imager (SSI). This mosaic is made up of more than 100 different SSI pointings, with images taken through three different filters at each pointing. 15 years ago in August 2008, Phoenix completed its three-month mission studying Martian ice, soil, and atmosphere. The goals of the Phoenix Mars Lander were to study the history of water in the Martian arctic, search for eviden ... read more

MARSDAILY
A multinational crew blasts off from Florida, heading for the International Space Station

Station Hosts 11 Crewmates from Five Countries

NASA challenges students to fly Earth and Space experiments

US seeks to extend China science accord, but only briefly for now

MARSDAILY
Pulsar Fusion forms partnership with University of Michigan for electric propulsion

Benchmark Space Systems cracks code for viable ASCENT propellant

Japan postpones 'Moon Sniper' launch for third time

Private rocket maker sends remote-sensing satellite into orbit

MARSDAILY
Sols 3932-3933: Touch and Go, Go, Go!

Scientists proposed to adapt a Mars ISRU system to the changing Mars environment

Mars helicopter Ingenuity completes 56th flight

Photocatalytic CO2 conversion for artificial carbon cycle at extraterrestrial sites

MARSDAILY
From rice to quantum gas: China's targets pioneering space research

China to launch "Innovation X Scientific Flight" program, applications open worldwide

Scientists reveal blueprint of China's lunar water-ice probe mission

Shenzhou 15 crew share memorable moments from Tiangong Station mission

MARSDAILY
Momentus announces reverse stock split

LeoStella and Hera Systems Establish Strategic Alliance

Viasat provides status update on Inmarsat-6 F2

Pentagon awards contracts for next 'swarm' of tiny missile defense satellites

MARSDAILY
Northrop Grumman delivers mini laser to US Government

Droplets unite!

NASA to demonstrate laser communications from Space Station

UNIDIR and SWF Introduce the Space Security Lexicon: Bridging the Gap in Space Terminology

MARSDAILY
Newly discovered planet has longest orbit yet detected by the TESS mission

Thermometer molecule confirmed on exoplanet WASP-31b

Accretion disks: How big are they really?

Study explains how part of the nucleolus evolved

MARSDAILY
SwRI will lead Hubble, Webb observations of Io, Jupiter's volcanic moon

In the service of planetary science, astrophysics and heliophysics

Mysterious Neptune dark spot detected from Earth for the first time

Neptune's Disappearing Clouds Linked to the Solar Cycle

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters


ADVERTISEMENT



The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2023 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.