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Continuous Processing with Mars GasesCurrent Martian missions call for the production of oxygen for breathing, and fuel and oxygen for propulsion to be produced from atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). Adsorption and freezing are the two methods considered for capturing CO, from the atmosphere. However, the nitrogen (N2) and argon (Ar), which make up less than 5 percent of the atmosphere, cause difficulties with both of these processes by blocking the CO2, This results in the capture process rapidly changing from a pressure driven process to a diffusion controlled process. To increase the CO, capture rates, some type of mechanical pump is usually proposed to remove the N2 and Ar. The N2 and Ar are useful and have been proposed for blanketing and pressurizing fuel tanks and as buffer gas for breathing air for manned missions. Separation of the Martian gases with the required purity can be accomplished with a combination of membranes. These membrane systems do not require a high feed pressure and provide suitable separation. Therefore, by use of the appropriate membrane combination with the Martian atmosphere supplied by a compressor a continuous supply of CO2 for fuel and oxygen production can be supplied. This phase of our program has focused on the selection of the membrane system. Since permeation data for membranes did not exist for Martian atmospheric pressures and temperatures, this information had to be compiled. The general trend as the temperature was lowered was for the membranes to become more selective. In addition, the relative permeation rates between the three gases changed with temperature. The end result was to provide design parameters that could be used to separate CO2 from N2 and Ar. This paper will present the membrane data, provide the design requirements for a compressor, and compare the results with adsorption and freezer methods.
Document ID
Document Type
Parrish, Clyde
(NASA Kennedy Space Center Cocoa Beach, FL United States)
Jennings, Paul
(Florida Inst. of Tech. Melbourne, FL United States)
Delgado, Hugo
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2001
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Science And Exploration
Meeting Information
Space Resources Roundtable, Colorado School of Mines(Golden, CO)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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