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ISRU atmosphere harvesting. Robert Dyck. Mars Atmosphere. CO 2 95.23% N 2 2.7% Ar 1.6% O 2 0.13% CO 0.07% H 2 O 0.03% Ne 0.00025% Kr 0.00003% Xe 0.000008% O 3 0.000003%. CO 2 freezer. filter dust/fines compress air to 10 bar freeze to 170°K (-103.15°C) Vapour pressure:

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mars atmosphere
Mars Atmosphere

CO2 95.23%

N2 2.7%

Ar 1.6%

O2 0.13%

CO 0.07%

H2O 0.03%

Ne 0.00025%

Kr 0.00003%

Xe 0.000008%

O3 0.000003%

co 2 freezer
CO2 freezer

filter dust/fines

compress air to 10 bar

freeze to 170°K (-103.15°C)

Vapour pressure:

CO2 = 0.1 bar

H2O = 3.4x10-277 mbar

As pressure drops, compressing more air to maintain 10 bar

Continue until pressure doesn’t drop any more

Gas will be primarily N2 & Ar, ideal for diluent gas in habitat.

carbon monoxide
Carbon Monoxide

After freeze: CO = 0.045%, O2 = 0.096%

CO: 0.001% symptoms of poisoning, 0.5% fatal

O2 + 2 CO → 2 CO2 with catalyst

2 O3 → 3 O2

After compressor stops, continue to heat catalyst until CO below detection threshold of sensor.

After catalyst heater is turned off, continue to run freezer until pressure stops dropping.

Release mix gas to storage tank and rapidly pump out.

Release residual pressure to Mars, then reseal.

Heat dry ice to sublimate, use pressure to fill CO2 tank.

mix gas
Mix gas

Resulting gas, by volume: Breathing gas:

CO2 0.74935% CO2 0.52%

N2 61.0% N2 42.4%

Ar 36.1% Ar 25.1%

O2 2.1% O2 32.0%

Ne 0.0056% Ne 0.0039%

Kr 0.00068% Kr 0.00047%

Xe 0.00018% Xe 0.00013%

@ 8.43333 psi

2.7 psi PP O2

CO2 not noticeable below 2% for several hours.

spacesuit habitat pressure
Spacesuit & habitat pressure

Spacesuit is the primary determinant of habitat pressure.

Shuttle oxygen pre-breathe time prior to EVA: 17 hours.

Mars 1 EVA per day, demands zero pre-breathe time.

Partial pressure N2 vs. suit total pressure: 1.2:1

Partial pressure O2 on Earth at sea level: 3.0 psi

Higher altitude cities have lower pressure but 21% O2, lower partial pressure is fine with acclimation.

2.7 psi habitat pressure is 90% of Earth sea level, reduces risk of fire, easily acclimated.

3.0 psi pure O2 suit reduces movement counterforce but leak of 10% pressure would reduce O2 to habitat level.

equipment size
Equipment size

Compressor: 113 litres/minute (Mars air)

Assumed Mars atmosphere average: 7mbar, -38.15°C

Compression time: ¾ sol (18 hours, 29 min., 41.4 sec.)

Gas collected:

CO2 1,882.9 g

mix gas 66.0675 g

Vessel volume: 5.880 l

Water ice accumulated per cycle: 0.24 g

ammonia argon
Ammonia & Argon

N2 + 3 H2 → 2 NH3

O2 + 2 H2 → 2 H2O

First remove all CO2 with sorbent, any trace would combine with H2 to form H2O and CO.

NH3 + H2O → NH4OH

separate ammonia @ -77.7°C (freeze to solid)

Remaining: all noble gas

Ar 99.98%

Ne 0.0156%

Kr 0.00187%

Xe 0.00050%

uses of ammonia
Uses of ammonia
  • Nitrogen fertilizer for greenhouse
  • Mars regolith has no nitrogen compounds
  • Refrigerant, especially absorption cycle
membranes
Membranes

More energy efficient

Hollow fibres thinner than human hair, maintainable on Mars colony?

Membranes can be used with Sabatier, to separate non-combusted H2 from CH4.