Mars mission is one of the oldest dreams of humans that is about to happen. While we’re on a mission to colonize the Red Planet which once was thought as the planet of the giants or the planet of the god of war Ares, there are many problems that come between Mars and our dream.
One of them is the fuel problem. While we’ll start to colonize the planet, teleportation will be one of the necessary things but fuel is already quite less to run the planet. What to do now?
A NASA team lead by Kurt Leucht discussed an idea in IEEE Spectrum that how they’re going to convert Mars soil into rocket fuel; which would give a boost to the future Mars mission as well taking less combustible energy from the Earth.
Leucht’s team named the system as “in situ resource utilization” or ISRU while Leucht likes to call it “dust-to-thrust factory”; it’s what it does. Coverts dust into the rocket’s thrust. But how is it possible to turn Martian soil into rocket fuel?
It’s a very simple process that Leucht’s will use. They explained it in a quite simple way. First, the ISRU will extract water from regolith. Regolith is a fancy name for the Martian soil based on its red color. They’re planning to send some robots along with the manned Mars mission to collect the Martian soil which would make the process easier.
Then they will split the hydrogen and oxygen from the soil using electrolysis. The third job is to combine the hydrogen with carbon to create methane; which they will collect from the atmosphere of Mars. And ta-da… the rocket fuel is ready. Leucht wrote, “This technology will one day allow humans to live and work on Mars, – and return to Earth to tell the story”