A robot designed to capture methane from the Martian surface could also lead to a global warming catastrophe.
The US National Science Foundation announced this week that it has awarded $7.5 million to a team of researchers working to build a methane capture system that could capture methane that would then be sent to a methane processing plant to be burned to produce energy.
The methane could then be used to power a hydrogen-powered energy source for a Mars mission that is to be launched in 2023.
The team’s goal is to create a methane-capture device that could be used on the surface of Mars, the researchers said in a press release.
The project is the first in a series of “space-based experiments” that could lead to the first successful extraction of methane from Mars, said lead researcher David Lohman.
The device could be made in the US or Europe, Lohmen said.
“The team hopes that methane could be extracted by the methane capture method by 2020, when the first human landing on Mars is scheduled to take place,” Lohmann said in the release.
“By then, methane could easily be stored and used as fuel to power the energy-hungry Mars mission.”
The methane captured from Mars could then become a source of energy for the space station, and ultimately a future space settlement.
The researchers said the methane could eventually be used in a solar panel to power an energy system for the station.
The first of the methane-processing experiments will take place in 2019, and the team plans to continue to develop the methane system until 2020.
The goal is that the methane will eventually be stored on the moon and used for electricity, the release said.
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