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An ISRU Propellant Production System to Fully Fuel a Mars Ascent VehicleIn-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) will enable the long term presence of humans beyond low earth orbit. Since 2009, oxygen production from the Mars atmosphere has been baselined as an enabling technology for Mars human exploration by NASA. However, using water from the Martian regolith in addition to the atmospheric CO2 would enable the production of both liquid Methane and liquid Oxygen, thus fully fueling a Mars return vehicle. A case study was performed to show how ISRU can support NASA's Evolvable Mars Campaign (EMC) using methane and oxygen production from Mars resources. A model was built and used to generate mass and power estimates of an end-to-end ISRU system including excavation and extraction water from Mars regolith, processing the Mars atmosphere, and liquefying the propellants. Even using the lowest yield regolith, a full ISRU system would weigh 1.7 mT while eliminating the need to transport 30 mT of ascent propellants from earth.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Glenn Research Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Kleinhenz, Julie E.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Paz, Aaron
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX United States)
Date Acquired
February 8, 2017
Publication Date
January 9, 2017
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Science And Exploration
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: AIAA SciTech Forum
Location: Grapevine, TX
Country: United States
Start Date: January 9, 2017
End Date: January 13, 2017
Sponsors: American Inst. of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 102434.01.16.02
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
Mars Surface
extraterrestrial water
situ resource utilization
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