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Coaxial plasma gun as a multitool for future Martian missions

07 May 2024

Duration: 36 months


One of the most ambitious projects of mankind, sending people to Mars, is inevitably confronted with the support of life through the necessary oxygen. It is well known that planet Mars mainly contain CO2 at low pressures compared to those on Earth, at approximately 1-5 torr. Therefore, an efficient method for dissociating CO2 to obtain oxygen is necessary. Several technologies compete to solve this problem, each with its advantages and shortcomings. We propose a solution from intense plasma jets with an high electron density of approximately 10^21 m^-3 and an electron temperature of over 10 eV, capable of dissociation by a direct mechanism. Mass spectrometry measurements revealed the degree of conversion of CO2 to oxygen and CO. We aimed to find the optimal variants of the discharge parameters for the most economical oxygen production. Furthermore, on the way to functional technology, we will supply the plasma gun with the help of a photovoltaic panel.

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Coaxial plasma gun as a multitool for future Martian missions