A Minor Shortcoming, Trivial Really

Plasma reactors could create oxygen on Mars

Yet, by firing an electron beam into the reaction chamber, they were able to convert about 30% of the air into oxygen. They estimate that the device could create about 14 grams of oxygen per hour: enough to support 28 minutes of breathing, the team reports today in theJournal of Applied Physics.

Guerra’s team still needs to solve some practical problems, Hecht notes.

Yes, I can see how only being able to produce 28 minutes of breathing oxygen every hour would be a practical problem. On the bright side, it wouldn’t be a problem for long.

(Yes, I know it’s only a concept and not yet built or scaled to real-world size, but the author set that up, so…)


Life Imitates Art #3,045,772

Someone is now marketing something we proposed in In the Shadow of Ares:  robotic solar panel cleaners.  I received information on these via an email brochure from Sentro Technologies USA (unfortunately information on theses robots is not available on their website).  These devices are certainly something my employer, a significant developer and owner of renewable technologies, would consider for our larger solar arrays.  Here are two images from the brochure:





The first runs on a rail, much like we envisioned when we had Amber engaged in her chores, cleaning dust off solar panels because the robot wasn’t functioning.  I find the second autonomous, mobile unit more interesting.  The engineering challenge would be to get it to move from array to array, especially where those arrays have tracking systems and vary in tilt and orientation relative to one another.