Getting oxygen with magnets to help in the flight to Mars

A new method of separating the phases of matter using magnets will allow building a compact installation that will provide oxygen. This will help build a system to provide them to people during the flight to Mars.

Enough oxygen will allow people to get to Mars

Getting oxygen in space

One of the most important tasks during long-term flights in space is to provide the crew with oxygen. The main work in this case is performed by regenerator batteries, which ensure its release from CO2. However, some of the gases are certainly lost through the hull of the spacecraft, and their reserves need to be replenished. 

The main way to obtain them on the International Space Station (ISS) is the decomposition of water under the influence of electric current. Electrodes are used for this, and this experiment is often demonstrated even in school lessons. But space has one difference from Earth: there is no gravity there.

As a result, the bubbles with the resulting gas do not float to the surface by themselves. It is quite difficult to separate them from the electrode and the liquid. The ISS uses a centrifuge for this purpose. However, this method is not suitable for a flight to Mars. With an increase in the power of the installation, its dimensions increase, and the use becomes impractical.

Magnetic separation

Scientists from universities in the USA, Great Britain and Germany drew attention to the problem of splitting, or separation, of phases. They proposed to solve it with the help of a magnetic field. The fact is that water and hydrogen are diamagnets, which are magnetized by substances so that the field begins to push them out. This happens at a certain temperature.

At the same time, the magnetic susceptibility of these two substances is different. And this allows them to be separated not only from oxygen, but also from each other. Thus, a relatively simple oxygen separation plant can be created.

Scientists tried to check this with the help of a special tower. In it, due to a fall of 9.2 seconds, weightlessness was created. This turned out to be enough to see how a neodymium electrode in a magnetic field begins to repel liquid and bubbles from itself. The researchers are confident that on this principle it is possible to build a plant for generating oxygen, which will allow people to get to Mars.

According to Р

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