This project seeks to develop a single vessel for carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and electrolysis for in situ Mars propellant production by eliminating several steps of CO2 processing, two cryocoolers, a high temperature reactor, a recycle pump, and a water condenser; thus greatly reducing mass, volume, and power.
Electrolysis of CO2 captured by Ionic Liquids (ILs) and H2O directly to CH4 and O2 has the potential to be much more efficient than CO2 freezing/methanation/water electrolysis by having five less process steps, ~50% less mass, and ~25% lower energy requirements. The objectives are to verify these advantages that would greatly improve in situ Mars propellant production for Mars Sample Return and human missions by reducing power, mass, and complexity through the use of a single vessel for CO2 capture and electrolysis to propellant. These steps have not been demonstrated together for Mars applications, which are quite demanding.
Electrolysis of CO2 + H2O in ionic liquids to CH4 and O2 has not been demonstrated, TRL = 2. The expected TRL at completion of the research effort is TRL = 4.More »
Propellant production and oxygen production for life support for human Mars missions in the 2030s at reduced mass and power. Demonstration on a Mars Sample Return mission in the 2020s would verify the technology for human missions.
SpaceX has declared its intentions to send settlers to Mars. Propellant and oxygen production would be essential for such efforts.
The Department of Energy could benefit from a successful outcome of this project.More »
|Organizations Performing Work||Role||Type||Location|
|Kennedy Space Center (KSC)||Lead Organization||NASA Center||Kennedy Space Center, Florida|
|AZ Technology, Inc.||Supporting Organization||
Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB), Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB)
|Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC)||Supporting Organization||NASA Center||Huntsville, Alabama|
|Mercer University||Academia||Macon, Georgia|