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Name: Micah P.
Status: student
Age: 17
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Friday, April 26, 2002


Question:
I am currently working in a program with the Johnson Space Center called Texas Aerospace Scholars. In our last lesson, we learned about Mars. If water is so scarce on the surface of Mars, would not there be some way to collect the frost that forms on some of the surface and use it to our advantage during long-term manned-missions to Mars? Would the amount collected (if possible) be enough to support human life or create rocket fuel from?


Replies:
I do not think anyone really knows how much water remains on Mars. It could be buried. In order to collect the "frost" you would need a surface at a temperature sufficiently low that the "frost" would not sublime during the warmer conditions of Mars. Possibly some sort of absorbent such as silica gel or microgel polymers would be more efficient. In any case one would have to know how to preserve any condensation for an extended period of time, and keep it relatively clean. I don't know how the economics of "capture" on the surface vs. "transport" from Earth to Mars would shake out.

Vince Calder



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