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NASA Particle Partition Challenge

For long duration habitation on extraterrestrial surfaces, habitats have to be efficient and self-sustaining, especially beyond low earth orbit where resupply of equipment and crew supplies becomes cost prohibitive.  This includes the processes used to maintain a breathable atmosphere in surface habitats. One potential way to recycle oxygen is through use of a Bosch reactor. In the Bosch reaction, one molecule of carbon dioxide is reacted with two molecules of hydrogen to yield two molecules of water and solid carbon.  Water is as important a resource for breathable air because water can be broken down by electrolysis to yield hydrogen and oxygen. The solid carbon particulates that are produced in a Bosch reactor are a nuisance byproduct. So much carbon is produced per day (1 Kg per crew of 4), that it must be regularly or continuously removed for the reactor to operate. And we don’t want a removal step to interfere with the continuously running process. This challenge seeks to identify novel ways that fine carbon particles can be safely and efficiently removed from a Bosch reactor, without impacting the reactor’s performance.  Your design concept could help future astronauts breathe easy by contributing to the development of improved life support systems for future extraterrestrial habitats.

Award: $45,000 in total prizzes

Open Date: October 26, 2022

Close Date: January 12, 2023

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