NASA Challenge - CO2 Conversion

In summary, NASA is holding a competition with a $50,000 prize for finding a process to use CO2 as a carbon source on Mars. The ultimate goal is to use the carbon for synthesizing other products. This idea has been explored in Science Fiction's Golden Age and can be achieved through the well-known Fischer-Tropsch synthesis process. CO2 can also be decomposed into other products through various methods. However, the challenge lies in cleaning the CO2 from dust and other gases unique to Mars. Other consumable reagents and catalysts can also be used in the conversion process.
  • #1
Tom.G
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NASA is looking for a process to use CO2 as a Carbon source on Mars; ultimate goal is to use the Carbon in the synthesis of other products.

$50,000 prize.

Open to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and U.S. business entities, work must be done in the U.S.,

https://www.co2conversionchallenge.org/#home
 
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  • #2
Looks like Navy might have a head start. They can make jet fuel out of the CO2in seawater.

upload_2018-9-4_0-6-32.png


I'm not enough of a chemist to assess difference between hydrocarbons and carbohydrates though.

Seems right out of Science Fiction's Golden Age, doesn't it ?

old jim
 

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  • #3
Look into Fischer-Tropsch synthesis.

"Liquid transportation hydrocarbon fuels and various other chemical products can be produced from syngas via the well-known and established catalytic chemical process called Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthesis, named after the original German inventors, Franz Fischer and Hans Tropsch in the 1920s," and it was industrialized in the 1930s.
https://www.netl.doe.gov/research/coal/energy-systems/gasification/gasifipedia/ftsynthesis

CO2 can be decomposed in a hydrogen environment with electrolysis, or electrical discharge, or radiolysis. One can produce methylene, and even carbon black. That's been known for decades.
 
  • #4
So the Sabatier process, researched for Mars Direct project, is no longer a valid option?
 
  • #5
Borek said:
So the Sabatier process, researched for Mars Direct project, is no longer a valid option?
Apparently, they like sugars as outcome.
 
  • #6
I would expect that the synthesis steps (=this challenge*) are the easier parts - you can use well-established processes from Earth. Cleaning the CO2 from dust and the other gases is a challenge unique to Mars.

* according to the rules you can use a source of pure CO2.
Other consumable reagents/catalysts are of course allowed as part of the conversion process (e.g., acids/bases/metals).
That is interesting (highlight from me).
 

1. What is the NASA Challenge - CO2 Conversion?

The NASA Challenge - CO2 Conversion is a competition organized by NASA to find innovative solutions for converting carbon dioxide (CO2) into usable resources on Mars and other planets.

2. Why is CO2 conversion important for space exploration?

CO2 conversion is important for space exploration because it can help reduce the reliance on Earth-based resources and enable long-term sustainability for human missions on other planets. It can also help mitigate the greenhouse effect and produce valuable resources for fuel and life support systems.

3. What are the main challenges of CO2 conversion in space?

The main challenges of CO2 conversion in space include the harsh environmental conditions, limited resources, and the need for efficient and reliable technology that can operate in a microgravity environment.

4. What are some potential solutions for CO2 conversion in space?

Some potential solutions for CO2 conversion in space include using biological systems, such as algae or bacteria, to convert CO2 into oxygen and other useful byproducts. Other solutions involve using chemical processes, such as the Sabatier reaction, to convert CO2 into methane or other hydrocarbons.

5. How can I participate in the NASA Challenge - CO2 Conversion?

To participate in the NASA Challenge - CO2 Conversion, individuals or teams can submit their innovative solutions through the official website during the open submission period. The submissions will be evaluated based on their technical feasibility, scalability, and potential impact on space exploration.

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