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Extract oxygen, carbon monoxide from Martian atmosphere?

Posted by: quanthasaquality - Tue Sep 20, 2011 5:05 am
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Extract oxygen, carbon monoxide from Martian atmosphere? 
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Post Extract oxygen, carbon monoxide from Martian atmosphere?   Posted on: Tue Sep 20, 2011 5:05 am
In the winter, at the Martian South Pole, a significant percent of its carbon dioxide atmosphere freezes out (~20%?). http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/marsfact.html lists CO2 at 95.32% of atmosphere. Interestingly, is O2 at 0.13% and CO at 0.08%. The Martian Winter gets down to -120C, or ~150 Kelvin. O2, CO, and N2 have liquifactaion points around ~75 Kelvin (at 1 atmosphere). CO is a valuable chemical for reducing metal oxides. Would it be feasible to just liquefy the desired gases at the Martian South Pole Winter for industrial use?

Heck, would it be feasible to use the CO2 icecap for ground transportation, much like on Ice Road Truckers?


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Post Re: Extract oxygen, carbon monoxide from Martian atmosphere?   Posted on: Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:13 pm
Yes, ground deposits, either buried or at the poles, are the only practical sources of CO2, CO, and just about anything else.

Keep in mind just how thin Mars' atmosphere is. C02 is the major component of Mars' "air", but even as a trace amount, Earth has far more CO2 in its atmosphere.

quanthasaquality wrote:
Heck, would it be feasible to use the CO2 icecap for ground transportation, much like on Ice Road Truckers?


Sure, it will depend on the topography. Don't expect it to form perfectly flat frozen lakes though. It will probably look a lot more like the sedimentation layers of a lake or sea floor.


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Post Re: Extract oxygen, carbon monoxide from Martian atmosphere?   Posted on: Fri Sep 30, 2011 12:24 am
In the South Pole winter, I'd try to compress the air to ~1 atmosphere pressure, where its freezing point is -78 Celsius. With a Winter temp around, -110 Celsius, cooling the compressed air with outside air could freeze out most of the CO2. I presume that will be the easy part. Further compression (and heat pumps) could liquefy out N2, CO, O2.

JamesG wrote:
Keep in mind just how thin Mars' atmosphere is. C02 is the major component of Mars' "air", but even as a trace amount, Earth has far more CO2 in its atmosphere.


For a small settlement on Mars, the atmosphere is effectively unlimited. The low atmosphere density might require the compression equipment be too big to be practical.


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