Name: Micah P.
Date: Friday, April 26, 2002
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?
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.
Click here to return to the Astronomy Archives
Update: June 2012