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Реакция читателя

2023-11-22 10:00:04

A robot obtained oxygen with the help of a Martian meteorite

Робот получил кислород с помощью марсианского метеорита

Scientists have developed a robot that can independently analyze the composition of rocks from the fourth planet with the help of neural networks and produce an effective catalyst to produce oxygen by splitting local water.

If we want to explore Mars, we need to learn how to produce oxygen on it, because this element is needed both to keep life support systems running and to produce a component of rocket fuel. The obvious source of oxygen is water.

Today, scientists are confident that in the distant past on Mars was a lot of water. And most importantly - more and more often they find evidence that even today on the Red Planet remains a lot of this invaluable liquid, at least under the ice at the south pole.

Using solar energy, it is possible to extract oxygen from water with the help of a suitable catalyst - a substance that speeds up the chemical reaction but is not consumed in the process.

In theory, catalysts can be brought from Earth, but it's expensive. It is better to create them on Mars, because the necessary materials - suitable metals - are in Martian rocks. The authors of a new paper published in the journal Nature Synthesis, highlighted two technical difficulties in the realization of such a project.

First, such a system of synthesis of catalysts must operate autonomously, because the distance between Mars and Earth will not allow to control chemical processes directly. The delay in the transfer of information is from 4.3 to 21 minutes, depending on the position of the planets.

Second, the system must independently determine the formula for the best catalyst from available ingredients. By studying meteorites that fell to Earth and once dislodged from the fourth planet, scientists have identified five types of potential ores of Martian origin, yielding more than 3.76 million combinations of elements to create a polymetallic catalyst.

An AI chemist developed by the research team was able to analyze the composition of six types of Martian ore without human intervention, prepare the materials, synthesize 243 different catalysts and test them.

Then, based on the experimental data obtained and an extensive theoretical database, the AI Chemist selected the best performing polymetallic catalyst made of six metals: manganese, iron, nickel, magnesium, aluminum and calcium. With the help of this catalyst it was possible to start the reaction of oxygen extraction for almost 153 hours with an overvoltage of 445.1 millivolts at a current density of 10 milliamperes per square centimeter.

The catalyst was tested in a simulation of Mars conditions at minus 37 degrees Celsius using a solution of magnesium perchlorate (Mg(ClO4)2). In the article, the authors noted that the development of a system is already underway, which will allow to test the work of the "AI-chemist" in conditions as close as possible to the real Martian.


Encyclopaedic reference
Космос - относительно пустые участки Вселенной, которые лежат вне границ атмосфер небесных тел.
Марс - четвёртая по удалённости от Солнца и седьмая по размеру планета Солнечной системы; масса планеты составляет 10,7 % массы Земли. Названа в честь Марса — древнеримского бога войны, соответствующего древнегреческому Аресу. Марс называют «красной планетой» из-за красноватого оттенка поверхности, придаваемого ей минералом маггемитом — γ-оксидом железа.


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