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#26 2017-03-27 17:50:58

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 10,527

Re: In-Situ Propellant Production, design a opensource demonstrator

Nice outline below of mission but cost of each may become an issue.

kbd512 wrote:

Oldfart1939,

Even with the eminently more affordable mission hardware architecture I've proposed, there's nothing about this mission that will be inexpensive.  It just won't be so expensive and complicated that NASA can't possibly afford to do it within our lifetimes, given existing and projected budgets.

The storable fuel is a non-negotiable line item for initial exploration missions.  There is no such technology, nor experience with said technology, for launching a spacecraft loaded with cryogenic propellants, flying them tens of millions of miles to another planet, and then having them sit for a couple years on that planet with zero boil-off of propellants prior to use.  Simply making and storing LOX in the oxidizer tank of the ascent stage is pushing our present technological capabilities to the limit.

Mission #1:
* Demonstrate production and storage of LOX from Martian CO2 using MOXIE and solid state cryocoolers.
* Experiment with collection and purification of the briny Martian ground water.
* Demonstrate the ability to grow a few common fruits, vegetables, cotton, and hemp on Mars.

Mission #2:
* Demonstrate ice mining on a scale suitable for use in a propellant plant and in agriculture.
* Demonstrate water electrolysis and storage of LOX and LH2.

Mission #3:
* Demonstrate LOX/LCH4 production in a propellant plant and fueling of a LOX/LCH4 powered ascent vehicle.  Demonstrate production of Martian concrete.

Mission #4:
* Demonstrate a nuclear fission surface power system.
* Demonstrate production of Martian steel.
* Demonstrate construction techniques using steel-reinforced Martian concrete.

Mission #5:
* Demonstrate mining equipment for production of metals required for aerospace alloys.
* Demonstrate fabrication of simple tools and spare parts using 3D printing.
* Demonstrate fabrication of microchips.

That's as ambitious an ISRU demonstration plan as I'm willing to entertain.  I think it's extraordinarily ambitious at that.  Each successive mission is intended as a logical progression of technology demonstrations to confirm that the general capabilities required for establishment of a permanent human presence on Mars are executed by NASA so that corporations can then refine those technologies to make them cost effective and suitable for use in Martian colonies.

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#28 2017-10-23 19:59:25

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 10,527

Re: In-Situ Propellant Production, design a opensource demonstrator

I really had a hard time finding this topic to add the links provided by :

kbd512 wrote:

SpaceNut,

University of Texas at Arlington devised a process to capture CO2 from combustion and to turn it into more liquid hydrocarbon fuels:

UTA researchers devise one-step process to convert carbon dioxide and water directly into renewable liquid hydrocarbon fuels

nice PDF document on the page but here is that link: Solar photothermochemical alkane reverse combustion
https://www.uta.edu/news/_downloads/pnas.201516945.pdf

A one-step, gas-phase photothermocatalytic process for the synthesis of hydrocarbons, including liquid alkanes, aromatics, and oxygenates, with carbon numbers (Cn)uptoC13,from CO2 and water is demonstrated in a flow photoreactor operating at elevated temperature (180–200 °C) and pressures (1–6 bar) using a 5% cobalt on TiO2 cata-lyst and under UV irradiation. A parametric study of temperature, pressure, and partial pressure ratio revealed that temperatures in excess of 160 °C are needed to obtain the higher Cn products in quantity and that the product distribution shifts toward higher C n products with increasing pressure. In the best run so far, over 13% by mass of the products were C5 + hydrocarbons and some of these, i.e., octane, are drop-in replacements for existing liquid hydrocarbons fuels. Dioxygen was detected in yields ranging between 64% and 150%.

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