Tech - News
How Magnets Could Be The Solution To Air In Space
Currently, air is supplied to astronauts via the process of electrolysis of water, wherein the hydrogen and oxygen bonds are separated to isolate oxygen gas. The microgravity of space causes a lack of buoyancy, making it hard for gasses to rise, but a study published in NPJ Microgravity posited that pulling oxygen gas from liquids using magnets could solve the issue.
On Earth, gravity causes buoyancy, allowing matters to rise or fall, and it seems magnets can create this scenario in space. Researchers explored this method using magnetic properties on liquids to draw out gas bubbles. To replicate microgravity, the experiments were done at the ZARM drop tower, where weightlessness occurs in airtight capsules dropped at about 394 feet.
This new avenue of using magnetism could make a Mars journey more likely, because using magnets makes it easier to direct where gasses contained in liquids go, allowing for more efficiency. The technique could also be more reliable and take up less mass — some of the qualities NASA identified for an air generation method.