University of Sussex scientists publish ‘breakthrough’ Mars study Brighton News

Researchers from the University of Sussex found a way to create electronics on the Red Planet in what is being hailed as a breakthrough.

The team behind the research is “optimistic” about the process’s applications in space.

Dr Conor Boland, lead author of the research paper about the study, said: “We are optimistic of the feasibility of this process on Mars as it requires only naturally occurring materials – everything we used could, in theory, be replicated on the Red Planet.

“Arguably this is the most important goal in making the Martian colony sustainable from the outset.”

Dr Boland and his team achieved the breakthrough by extracting water from Martian materials and leaving anhydrite, a by-product of the process.

The University of Sussex team then used the anhydrite, usually considered a waste material, to create sustainable materials which can be used to create electronic devices and hydrogen fuels.

Dr Boland added: “This study shows that the potential is quite literally out of this world for nanomaterials.


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“Our study builds off recent research performed by NASA and takes what was considered waste, essentially lumps of rock, and turns it into transformative nanomaterials for a range of applications from creating clean hydrogen fuel to developing an electronic device similar to a transistor, to creating an additive to textiles to increase their robustness.

“This opens avenues for sustainable technology – and building – on Mars but also highlights the broader potential for eco-friendly breakthroughs here on Earth.”

The team believe that the discovery could hold the key to helping set up a colony on Mars in the future.

Nanomaterials are incredibly tiny components thousands of times smaller than a human hair.

While full-scale electronics production may be impractical on Mars now due to the lack of clean rooms and sterile conditions, later down the line this discovery may still have a profound effect on sustainable energy production on the Red Planet.

It may also hold promise for clean and sustainable energy production here on Earth in the meantime.

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This notice was published: 2024-01-01 05:00:00

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