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Welcome to the Objective Europa forum for general debate and discussions in areas related to a crewed mission to Jovian moon Europa. Suggestions and ideas in the forum will not be filed as part of the research in phase-I.

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Pages: 1
Author Topic: Europan Ice as Fuel?


Pragmatic
Europa Dreamer
Posts: 8
Europan Ice as Fuel?
on: October 3, 2013, 03:13

Hello, I was wondering if we could use the ice and water on the Europan Surface, seperate the molecules, and use the hydrogen and oxygen as a rocket fuel.

By doing this, we could take a ship, land it on Europa, refuel, and head back to Earth, effectively allowing for a crew retrival.



Vicem
Europa Dreamer
Posts: 17
Re: Europan Ice as Fuel?
on: October 3, 2013, 17:18

Doing this would require quite a bit of energy, not to mention the gasses would need to be purified and pack into fuel cells... it seems like, with currently technology, it would be beyond our ability...



most
Europa Dreamer
Posts: 10
Re: Europan Ice as Fuel?
on: October 4, 2013, 10:24

As far as I know, athmospere of Jupiter in 81% consist of hydrogen. May be using of this hydrogen better than produce it from water and ice?



Pragmatic
Europa Dreamer
Posts: 8
Re: Europan Ice as Fuel?
on: October 4, 2013, 14:41

Well, there has been ways of turning radiation into electricity, and we could possibly utilize these on a Europa mission.

With current technology, we could do this and pack pure oxygen and hydrogen into fuel cells.

I'll try to test some equipment that will do that, and will soon post pictures and results.



Bryan
Europa Astronaut
Posts: 98
Re: Europan Ice as Fuel?
on: October 11, 2013, 04:48

Think of electrolysis as a battery. You need to have massive amounts of energy in the first place.

Energy from radiation is basically solar cell technology (light being nothin more than visible radiation.) Given our current problems with weight and efficiency now with such panels, I do not see the advances being made to convert a large amount of radiation energy into the potential energy stored by electrolysis, at least not enough to make rocket fuel for the return trip.



ChrisWeeks-
3D
Europa Dreamer
Posts: 10
Re: Europan Ice as Fuel?
on: October 12, 2013, 18:43

It might not be efficient, but it doesn't necessarily have to be done quickly. If the plan is to have a one way trip in the first place, then who cares even if it takes 10 years to create enough fuel for the trip back - 10 years is better than never. Also, equipment like this could be sent ahead of time to start working before the crew arrives.



Bryan
Europa Astronaut
Posts: 98
Re: Europan Ice as Fuel?
on: October 12, 2013, 23:48

If it takes 10 years, then we have to keep the astronauts alive for that time.

We could send things there early, though I'm unsure how automated such a complex undertaking could be made. There are a lot of pieces to put together: solar panels, water collection and meting, seperation, storage tanks, pressure containment. That's a lot of work for robots.



Drake
Europa Dreamer
Posts: 20
Re: Europan Ice as Fuel?
on: October 14, 2013, 06:06

The escape velocity of Jupiter at Europa’s orbit is around 19.4 Km/s, almost twice that of the Earth’s 11.2 Km/s. To pull off a return trip with homemade hydrogen, you’d need at least enough to fill the Space Shuttle’s external tank, and then some. While theoretically plausible, this operation may be too much for this mission to handle. It may have to wait for missions much farther down the road.
I do think we should keep searching for ways to make a return trip possible. The best way to ensure continuing missions to the outer solar system is to find a way to make them profitable. The collection of exotic materials may provide that, but only if we find a way to bring it back to Earth.
I also am intrigued with the idea of collecting and storing hydrogen as an energy source. Should renewable energy collectors fail, or the station experience unexpected power failure, hydrogen fuel cells might just be able to act as an “emergency generator” of sorts.

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