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Center Innovation Fund: JSC CIF

Proving Water Production out of Mars Analog Soil

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The combination of a regolith dryer, vapor-phase cleanup and passive condenser, and the dynamics of combining all three components into a system has never been demonstrated. Previous attempts to clean water by KSC to support ISRU were based on liquid phase cleanup and required consumables. The SBIR work by Paragon Space Development Corporation demonstrated the potential for a nafion membrane to be used as a vapor phase cleanup method, but was not tested with a realistic Mars simulant or passive condenser. The rate of vaporization, pressure drop across the nafion membrane and rate of condensation all determine the rate that water can realistically be extracted from regolith. A high fidelity Mars regolith simulant is required to evaluate the system. Regolith remediation techniques will also be investigated for removal of perchlorates/sulfates. This year's development of a small-scale breadboard could be followed up with a larger scale demonstration.

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