(Image Credit: NASA)
If humanity is every going to subdue the red planet, then they will need an inexpensive way to transport goods and personal across its crimson deserts.
Instead of looking towards the distant sun to energize our future Martian rovers, why not pull fuel from the "abundant" Martian air?
(Renewable Energy Access) Using concentrated solar energy to reverse combustion, a research team from Sandia National Laboratories is building a prototype device intended to chemically "reenergize" carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide using concentrated solar power. The carbon monoxide could then be used to make hydrogen or serve as a building block to synthesize a liquid combustible fuel, such as methanol or even gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.
The prototype device, called the Counter Rotating Ring Receiver Reactor Recuperator (CR5, for short), will break a carbon-oxygen bond in the carbon dioxide to form carbon monoxide and oxygen in two distinct steps. It is a major piece of an approach to converting carbon dioxide into fuel from sunlight.
Even though the inventors probably designed this technology to help the world to become energy independent, it may have a more practical use on the crimson world millions of kilometers away.
While future colonists may be able to power their space ports using innovative solar technology, it may be in their best interest to make their vehicles "solar independent," thereby giving them more freedom to explore the red planet.
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