NASA needs you!

You’ve probably heard about the idea of humans potentially travelling to Mars one day, and maybe even living there.  You might not know, however, that NASA want to hear your ideas about how the elements and compounds found on Mars could be used to support life. They have estimated that by using what’s already there, rather than transporting it to Mars from Earth, could save about $100,000 per kilo!  We don’t know much about using basalt compounds to build launch pads, but maybe we could come up with some way of creating the right gas mix to allow Martian visitors to breathe…?  It’ll be quite the task though, as the atmospheric pressure on Mars is about 0.6% of Earth’s, and the “air” is made up of 96% carbon dioxide, 1.9% nitrogen, 1.9% argon! and just a smidge of oxygen.  The air on Earth is 20.9% oxygen, 78.1% nitrogen, 0.9% argon and just 0.03% carbon dioxide. The winner of the challenge will be awarded $10,000 so it’s worth a go!  Do post a comment and let us know if you enter the ‘NASA in situ materials competition’

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