Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

University Of Michigan Student Research May Help Astronauts Burn Fuel On Mars

Date:
April 16, 2004
Source:
University Of Michigan
Summary:
A team of undergraduate aerospace engineering students at the University of Michigan is doing research to help astronauts make fuel once they get to Mars, and the results could bring scientists one step closer to manned or extended rover trips to the planet.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- One of the big problems with space travel is that one cannot over pack.

Related Articles


Suppose astronauts reach Mars. How do they explore the planet if they cannot weigh down the vessel with fuel for excursions?

A team of undergraduate aerospace engineering students at the University of Michigan is doing research to help astronauts make fuel once they get to Mars, and the results could bring scientists one step closer to manned or extended rover trips to the planet.

Their research proposal won the five-student team a highly competitive trip to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston to participate in the Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program.

In Houston, the students conducted zero-gravity experiments using iodine as a catalyst to burn magnesium. Magnesium is a metal found on Mars that can be harvested for fuel---fossil fuels don't burn on Mars because of the planet's carbon dioxide (CO2) atmosphere, but metals do burn in a CO2 atmosphere.

The idea for the students' experiments evolved from previous research done by Margaret Wooldridge, an associate professor in mechanical engineering and the team's adviser. Wooldridge's research showed that while magnesium is a promising fuel source, burning magnesium alone---without a catalyst such as iodine---has several challenges. Preliminary results from the student experiments showed that using iodine as a catalyst helped make the magnesium burn better, said Arianne Liepa, aerospace engineering undergrad and team member.

The experiments also showed that using the iodine, magnesium, CO2 system worked even better in a microgravity environment. "That bodes well for a power source on Mars where the gravity is approximately one-third that of Earth," Wooldridge said.

The students---Greg Hukill, Arianne Liepa, Travis Palmer, Carlos Perez and Christy Schroeder---who conducted the experiments over a nine-day period in March, flew on a specially modified Boeing KC 135A turbojet transport. The plane flies parabolic arcs to produce weightless periods of 20 to 25 seconds at the apex of the arc.

###

For more information:

http://microgravityuniversity.jsc.nasa.gov

http://me.engin.umich.edu/people/faculty/mswool.shtml

http://www.engin.umich.edu/team/kc135/index.htm


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Michigan. "University Of Michigan Student Research May Help Astronauts Burn Fuel On Mars." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 April 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040415010228.htm>.
University Of Michigan. (2004, April 16). University Of Michigan Student Research May Help Astronauts Burn Fuel On Mars. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040415010228.htm
University Of Michigan. "University Of Michigan Student Research May Help Astronauts Burn Fuel On Mars." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040415010228.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Antares Liftoff Explosion

Raw: Antares Liftoff Explosion

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Observers near Wallops Island recorded what they thought would be a routine rocket launch Tuesday night. What they recorded was a major rocket explosion shortly after lift off. (Oct 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Russian Cargo Ship Docks at Space Station

Raw: Russian Cargo Ship Docks at Space Station

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Just hours after an American cargo run to the International Space Station ended in flames, a Russian supply ship has arrived at the station with a load of fresh supplies. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Journalist Captures Moment of Antares Rocket Explosion

Journalist Captures Moment of Antares Rocket Explosion

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 29, 2014) A space education journalist is among those who witness and record the explosion of an unmanned Antares rocket seconds after its launch. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rocket Explosion Under Investigation

Rocket Explosion Under Investigation

AP (Oct. 28, 2014) NASA and Orbital Sciences officials say they are investigating the explosion of an unmanned commercial supply rocket bound for the International Space Station. It blew up moments after liftoff Tuesday evening over the launch site in Virginia. (Oct. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins