Questions tagged [chemistry]

Questions regarding the application of chemistry in space exploration, for example the composition of rocket propellants.

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What is the most efficient way to go to Titan? [closed]

With ionic motors? or chemical engines? liquid propellant (LH2) or gas? What is the most compact way to make the trip? in the smallest possible rocket, for example the SS-520-5 is a 2-stage rocket, 11....
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Is there any practical application of trinitramide N(NO2)3 in rocket propellants

In 2010 researchers at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Sweden announced the discovery of new compound, trinitramide N(NO2)3, which could revolutionize production of solid rocket propellants....
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Is it possible for aluminium alloys in a explosion in space or on earth to become pure elemental powder particles? [closed]

If you have some kind of explosion, is it then possible for aluminium alloys to become powder particles?, is yes, can they become pure elemental aluminium particles?, or will they always be aluminium ...
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How can 3He be mined on the moon? [duplicate]

Now I know how it is detected, but what would the mining process be like? given that there is a lot on the moon but not concentrated, so you have to process large amounts of surface to extract a ...
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Hydrocarbons of Titan: Potential Applications

Imagine in the future that some space agency or corporation has deployed a manned mission to Saturn's moon Titan with the intent of collecting samples of its hydrocarbons. This is to be accomplished ...
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Are Mars' atmospheric CO₂, O₂ and CO in equilibrium? Are sunlight or chemical reactions involved?

According to the NASA JPL video linked below the top five gases comprising the martian atmosphere include CO₂, O₂ and CO. Do the proportions reflect some chemical equilibrium? Are sunlight or chemical ...
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What is a lithium fed GIT? How does it work?

This answer to What is the maximum speed an ion engine can propel a spacecraft at? mentions the following: Lithium fed GIT (gridded ion thrusters) have demonstrated 50,000 - 80,000 seconds of ISP (...
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Which scientific articles together give proof of all the chemical elements found on Mars?

Wikipedia about the elemental composition of Mars: Based on these data sources, scientists think that the most abundant chemical elements in the Martian crust, besides silicon and oxygen, are iron, ...
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Are there fuel cells for methane + oxygen? Could there be?

Hydrogen + oxygen fuel cells powered the week-long Apollo missions to the Moon and Shuttle missions to orbit, and there is a industry trying to build itself around hydrogen-fed fuel cell-based road ...
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What is the heaviest chemical element that has been recovered from beyond cis-lunar space? [closed]

Material has come to Earth from deep space (beyond cis-linar) and been subjected to scientific analysis both in the form of meteorites, and via robotic sample collection spacecraft and robotic ...
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Options for making rocket fuel using the Moon's natural resources

Based on what is known about the chemistry of the lunar surface through remote sensing and surface exploration, what raw ingredients are likely to be available that can be used to make rocket fuel?
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Are rocket fuels and LOX pure or are there additives?

I wonder whether there are any small amounts of additives in rocket fuels such as hydrogen and kerosene, or to the liquid oxygen, or if they are absolutely pure (barring any unintentional ...
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What would a candle flame look like in low gravity?

We know what the flame of a candle looks like on Earth in 1g and what it looks like in weightlessness. But do we have an idea of what it would look like in Lunar (0.166 g) or Martian (0.38 g) gravity? ...
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What would be the performances of chlorine trifluoride as an oxydizer?

Inspired by this comment Assume that a particularly deranged moustache-twirling villain with way more time and resources than is reasonable decides to build a satellite-launching rocket using ...
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Sources of Xenon or other noble gases in space?

Xenon is a common choice for ion thrusters, though other heavy noble gases could work due to their low ionization potentials. I got thinking about building or refilling future space travel ion ...
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Molecular propellant in ion engines

This question was prompted by discussions on this question. Can there be an advantage to using a molecular propellant in an ion engine, as opposed to noble gasses or iodine? (Although iodine actually ...
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Removing perchlorate from Mars surface soil

It's known that there's a lot of perchlorate contained in Mars' surface soil. But could we take the toxic part out and make it become plantable? If so, how might this be done in a practical way on ...
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Density of propylene when used as rocket fuel, and advantages (if any) over RP-1?

Recently Vector space from USA has said that propylene is a better choice of fuel than RP-1. See Ars Technica's After a decade of testing, propylene rocket fuel may be ready for prime time Why is ...
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How quickly might a Titan rover or drone get covered in oil and dirt? Will it need windshield-wipers?

These questions and their answers address some potential aspects of a rover on Saturn's moon Titan. Titan rover survival challenges What are the technical challenges in building a Titan rover that ...
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Is abundance of chemical elements in the asteroid belt / solar system real through higher concentrations?

Given humanity would be once able to access any minerals in the asteroid belt and moons of planets, would be there some chemical elements (if stable isotopes exist) still considered as rare?
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Rock flipping operation

After the recent announcement of complex organics being found on Mars within the curiosity rover's meager 5cm drill depth, I had an idea about artificially increasing it: Is curiosity rover's arm ...
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What are the energy-to-mass ratios of some fuels/oxidizers, when including the oxidizer?

Energy-to-weight ratio is an important parameter. We would like it to be high so we don't have to carry around much fuel. Maybe you've heard some of the numbers for common fuels. Hydrogen is about ...
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Speculation. Will this “turning-co2-into-O2” zeppelin work in Venus? [closed]

Background: Me and a friend are trying to "colonize" Mars and Venus. He has Mars, and I have to "colonize" Venus. So, my intention was to do a slow terraform by creating zeppelins that convert CO2 ...
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What would a “water” landing on Titan be like? How viscous is the liquid?

The abstract to the recent paper Never-EVER Land - A Titan Flyer Concept is shown below. I've asked about the need for the aircraft to remain in flight continuously and land only at the end of it's ...
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What is the process to produce a chemical composition spectrum of a celestial body?

I have come across this spectrum, which depicts the chemical composition of Titan's atmosphere: Taken from here. I would like to know how do scientists generate such spectra, starting with capturing ...
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Got Milk? Why is the term “colloid” used in “Colloid or Electrospray thruster”?

From this answer to the question "Difference between colloid thrusters and electro spray thrusters" I've extracted the following: According to the Wikipedia article Colloid thruster they are the same ...
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What is a pickup ion?

I've been reading several publications about Titan's atmosphere and chemistry, and the term "pickup ion" kept appearing here and there (see this publication for example). I looked it up and found the ...
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How (if possible) can we assess the isotope variations on martian soils?

I'm personally interested in the biological implications of different isotope variations on biology. This can be tested on earth by separating them and just observing, but determining the isotope ...
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Can I make my own RP1? [closed]

Is it possible for me to buy kerosene from a local store and then try to refine it to the extent where it would be considered RP1. If so how would I do it? For those who are wondering me and a group ...
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Meteor color hints at chemistry

This recent meteor over the midwest. Reports described it at blue / green. I have seen blue / white, red and yellow meteors. I presume red means iron, green means copper. Can meteoritics or meteor ...
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What is $C_p$ in the fuel efficiency equation?

On page 94 of Ignition! an equation for "Frozen equilibrium calculation": $$ c = \left[ 2H/M \right]^{1/2} \left[ 1- \left( {P_e \over P_c} \right) ^{R/C_p} \right]^{1/2} $$ All quantities are ...
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Chemical Fuel Improvements

With advances in chemical engineering, could chemical propulsion have a fuel (or fuels) that would allow it to compete with newer, more advanced form of propulsion (such as electrical or nuclear) or ...
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What proportion of a rockets fuel remains unburnt?

Presumably liquid rocket combustion is never 100% efficient, so what proportion of fuel does typically remain unburnt, venting into the atmosphere, and does this vary for different rocket designs and ...
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Do things get dirty in space?

I'm writing a computer game involving space exploration, where the player will come across space ships/stations that are hundreds/thousands/tens of thousands of years old. I'm also trying to make it ...
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Is there a maximum Isp for “exothermic chemical reaction rockets”?

The question Is there a maximum $\text{I}_{sp}$? reminded me that I once read somewhere that the maximum possible $\text{I}_{sp}$ for a rocket engine based on expansion driven by exothermic, ...
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What limits burning speed of solid propellant?

SRBs and missiles use grain to regulate thrust over time, as only exposed surface of the propellant burns. But what causes propellant to burn only on the surface, and regulates the speed at which the ...
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What is the cause of the blue light from LH2/LOX rocket engines?

Below are some screen shots from circa June 2016 launch (or re-launch) videos by Blue Origin (video link) and SpaceX (video link). The New Shepard burns $\text{H}_2$/$\text{O}_2$, while the Falcon 9 ...
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What causes the green flash during Falcon 9's ignition?

Right before Falcon 9's engines start, there's a green flash. I assume it's some kind of chemical ignition. What makes the flash the color green?
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How could you create water and air from materials in the Solar System?

If you don't have access to Earth(but still the moon) or the Sun, where could you obtain enough hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen to create enough water and an N2 and O2 atmosphere for, say a population ...
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Should we expect the surface rocks of Venus to be oxide poor.?

My thinking is that in an atmosphere rich in hot sulfuric acid they couldn't stand a chance. Although I am unsure of what exactly would be going on chemically at the interface between the venerean ...
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What would adding 15% nitrogen do to pure oxygen as an oxidizer?

I'm working through Sutton's "Rocket Propulsion Elements," (8th Ed.) and it is mostly gibberish. However, I understand a little bit. Anyways, the question is: When using RP-1 as a fuel, your oxidizer ...
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Mars: Readily usable sulfur for sulfur concrete?

Sulfur concrete is a mix of sulfur and aggregates that make a strong, quick-hardening concrete that is likely to be used for construction on Mars, which has a great deal of sulfur. Most experiments, ...
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Is there salt in space?

Is it possible for ordinary table salt (sodium chloride) to form on a lifeless planet / moon / comet / other body? Is liquid water required? Would it be common or nearly-impossibly rare? Part of a ...
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Would it be more viable to process moon rocks into Helium-3 on the Moon than doing so on Earth?

Helium-3 is a substance that is very useful for nuclear fusion, which can generate a lot of power. Unfortunately we don't have a lot of it on Earth, but on the Moon it can be processed from basic moon ...
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Could there be a phosphorous cycle on Venus?

Most of what I read says there is not any Phosphorous on Venus which I take to mean none in the atmosphere or none detected. I mean it get hit by Iron-nickel meteorites and probably has some apatite ...
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Why do we search for extra-terrestrial water?

When searching for signs of extra-terrestrial life, the key primary challenge as of now seems to be searching for signs of water on other planets. Presumably, this is because on Earth, water is ...
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How much energy does it take to extract water from silicate?

Browsing Asterank, it seems that people believe many asteroids have large amounts of iron or magnesium silicate. These compounds may come in a hydrated form which contains water, but it is chemically ...
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What mitigation procedures are in place in space systems to prevent whisker growth?

It has been found (from missions like the Long Duration Exposure Facility, LDEF) that some metals, especially tin and cadmium in solders, used in space-electronics assemblies, form crystal whiskers ...
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Monoatomic species at orbital altitudes

Besides monoatomic oxygen, what other monoatomic or chemically reactive atmospheric or environmental constituents, if any, are present at orbital altitudes that aren't present at lower altitudes, and ...
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What is required to produce rocket quality methane fuel and oxygen from Mars' atmosphere?

Turning $\require{mhchem}\ce{CO2}$ and some hydrogen into $\ce{O2}$ and $\ce{CH4}$ seems pretty straightforward and has been known since early chemistry in the 19th century. But what about the quality,...