Methane to Aromatics on Mars

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: N/A
Agency Tracking Number: NASA1028
Amount: $69,960.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2001
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Pioneer Astronautics
11111 W. 8th Ave., Unit A, Lakewood, CO, 80215
DUNS: N/A
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Tony Muscatello
 Senior Research Scientist
 (303) 460-7662
 tonimuscatello@uswest.net
Business Contact
 Robert Zubrin
Title: President
Phone: (303) 980-0890
Email: zubrin@aol.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
The Methane to Aromatics on Mars (METAMARS) project will design and build a machine for converting methane produced by the Sabatier reaction into a low hydrogen content, low vapor pressure, high density, aromatic fuel. Its primary advantage is a factor of four reduction of hydrogen feedstock importation requirements for production of rocket fuel compared to the standard S/E process for an equivalent mass of fuel. In addition, since all oxygen produced by the Sabatier system comes from the carbon dioxide feed, by reducing the hydrogen in the fuel the METAMARS process will simultaneously improve the stoichiometry of the fuel/oxidizer combination and will reduce the power required by the process. The benzene fuel is also considerably denser than methane fuel. A final advantage of the METAMARS process is that it operates at low pressure, in contrast to synthesis reactions for other higher hydrocarbons. These advantages make the METAMARS process a prime technology to improve the applicability of the Sabatier process for small scale unmanned Mars missions, such as the Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission, as well as a key technology for manned Mars missions.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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