Martian colonists could use an innovative new technique to harvest energy from carbon dioxide thanks to research pioneered at Northumbria and Edinburgh Universities.
Dry ice may not be abundant on Earth, but increasing evidence from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter suggests it may be a naturally occurring resource on Mars as suggested by the seasonal appearance of gullies on the surface of the red planet.
If utilised in a Leidenfrost-based engine dry-ice deposits could provide the means to create future power stations on the surface of Mars.
One of the co-authors of Northumbria’s research, Dr Rodrigo Ledesma-Aguilar, said: “Carbon dioxide plays a similar role on Mars as water does on Earth. It is a widely available resource which undergoes cyclic phase changes under the natural Martian temperature variations.”Perhaps future power stations on Mars will exploit such a resource to harvest energy as dry-ice blocks evaporate, or to channel the chemical energy extracted from other carbon-based sources, such as methane gas.