If we want to travel to Mars in the future, rocket fuel is very important and scientists are exploring different ways to do it. Now researchers at the University of California, Irvine A new way Rockets have been found on the planet to produce methane and fuel.
Ilan Mask and SpaceX engineers point to a theoretical way to combine water from Martian ice and carbon dioxide to get enough carbon and hydrogen to produce methane. When astronauts reach Mars, they will likely use this method to convert Red Planet sources such as carbon dioxide and ice into rocket fuel and back to Earth.
While we are faced with only one proof of concept, this new method has appeared in successful laboratory tests. University of California, Irvine physicist Hollin Sheen said in a statement:
“There are countless engineering and experiments before it is possible to use such a method, but the results are promising.”
To engineer the new method, the team went to the existing method of converting water to respirable oxygen on the International Space Station (ISS) and turned it into a one-step process. A single-atom “zinc” catalyst has achieved this. According to Shin Roy, it is essentially a unique catalyst.
According to Shin, the researchers developed a more portable and compact method to make this two-step process one-step. In this method, atomically dispersed zinc plays the role of catalyst in the same process, producing methane from carbon dioxide. This process efficiently converts carbon dioxide to methane with a specialized catalyst.
Modern rockets do not use methane-based jet fuel, so the new process must be compatible with future propulsion technologies. However, methane-based fuels have several advantages over liquid hydrogen. Liquid hydrogen is left in carbon rocket engines that must be cleaned before re-use, which would not be easy on Mars.
Some companies have switched to methane-based rocket fuel, such as the Raptor engines in the Starship rocket.