March 5, 2024

A Mars Colony Could be a Hydrogen Factory, Providing Propellant for the Inner Solar System

Hydrogen is beneficial in myriad applications. The issue is its fairly hard to get access to in the more comprehensive solar system.

One possible facilities solution is a mass chauffeur– a type of really long rail gun that could possibly introduce plans of hydrogen directly from the Martian surface area into orbit. That will never ever stop some dreamers from coming up with scenarios that could basically modify the economics of the solar system.

You might feed a lot more than 10,000 individuals on Mars, according to this UT video.
Water has lots of other usages on Mars, though, not the least of which would be sustaining any nest that would be seeking to perform hydrogen export in the very first location. Water recycling will likely be a typical technique in the early days of any nest, so when sufficient water is collected, extra input would just need to match the losses of any water recovery system.
While it may not appear like it in the beginning glimpse, Mars has a great deal of water. Satellites have actually discovered more than 5 million km3 of ice on or near its surface area. If even a small piece of that is made use of for water intake at a nest, it might forever support tens of countless homeowners..
That leads to another concern– what to do with the water left on the surface area after fulfilling the nests needs. It could be used in any future terraforming efforts, however it would likely be better to the planetary systems economy in the medium terms if turned directly into hydrogen.

UT video talking about possibilities for a Martian colony.
There is plenty of it in Jupiter or even the Sun, but extracting that light of a product from those massive gravity wells is not particularly cost-efficient. Smaller orbital bodies, such as asteroids, have some water that might be used as a hydrogen source, but they are not large enough to supply all of the planetary systems requirements.
One particular location in the planetary system does have an abundant potential source of hydrogen and a relatively weak gravity well– Mars. Admittedly the hydrogen on the Red Planet is in water form. Nevertheless, hydrolysis is a relatively common reaction that requires power and has the included benefit of producing pure oxygen, which is important in its own right..

Hydrogen is beneficial in myriad applications. The issue is its reasonably hard to get access to in the more comprehensive solar system.

There are lots of prospective usages for a Mars nest. It could be a research station, mining nest, or perhaps a possible second house if something occurs to go considerably incorrect on our first one. However it could also be a potential source of what is sure to be among the most valuable aspects in the area economy– hydrogen..

In-situ resource usage will be a key component of any sustainable Martian nest. This UT video talks about the principle.
Dr. Shubov recommends doing exactly that– but only after the surrounding economy has actually grown enough to necessitate mass usage of hydrogen in area. That includes not only orbital infrastructure, like the Gateway area station however likewise the Mars colony itself. Throughout the paper, one idea that he duplicates is only beginning a hydrogen extraction procedure when around 10,000 individuals are resident in a future Martian nest. He even presumes regarding estimate the total quantity of steel and plastic needed to develop a large sufficient nest to support all those colonists.. Those arent the only stipulation, however– having launch facilities on the world itself is key to making the economic argument to ship hydrogen off-world. One possible infrastructure option is a mass motorist– a kind of really long rail weapon that might potentially release plans of hydrogen straight from the Martian surface area into orbit. While there are even strategies to develop such a system on Earth, the physics of Mars is a lot more amenable to the massive engineering needed to develop mass chauffeurs or other infrastructure that could considerably reduce orbital launch costs..
Artists principle for a possible colony on Mars. Credit: Ville Ericsson.
Its fantastic to get the hydrogen into orbit around Mars, however where does it go from there? To Earth is the most likely response, at least up until other bases in the solar system start to need their own hydrogen. Getting a substantial amount of gas to Earth will need not burning a few of that fuel. Various possible cyclical services have been discussed, the most well-known– the Aldrin Cycler.. No matter the option selected to get the valuable rocket fuel back home, Dr. Shubovs argument of how such a hydrogen export system might work. Were still really far from any need for such a hydrogen market, even on Earth, let alone in space. However that will never stop some dreamers from creating circumstances that could essentially modify the economics of the planetary system.
Discover more: arXiv– Feasibility Study For Hydrogen Producing Colony on MarsUT– The Bare Minimum Number of Martian Settlers? 110UT– How Do We Colonize Mars?
Lead image: Artists conception of an established Martian colonyCredit– SpaceX.
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