Questions tagged [methane]

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Could and should not the search for the location(s) of the Martian methane spikes become the main scientific objective for the Curiosity rover?

In Nature Geoscience's article Independent confirmation of a methane spike on Mars and a source region east of Gale Crater is announced that the reported methane spike on sol 305 by the Tunable Laser ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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What transportation energy “currency” would be most suitable for mobile machinery on the Martian surface?

What transportation energy “currency” (methane, H2, electricity) would be most suitable for mobile machinery on the Martian surface? Photovoltaic (PV) cells or nuclear energy will likely be the only ...
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4 votes
2 answers
610 views

Starship: Methane and Oxygen can't both be liquid, except in a narrow temperature range. Is this a problem for interplanetary voyages?

On an extended spaceflight in Starship, the liquid propellant and oxidizer will tend towards the same temperature. The tanks can be refrigerated by boiling off contents, but your mileage may vary ...
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11 votes
4 answers
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Why RP-1 and not Methane for Falcon 9's Merlin engines?

I've seen methane described as the best of both worlds---the worlds being hydrogen's energy density + pain-in-the-ass factor and RP-1's lower energy density + ... ease of use? And this has me ...
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3 votes
2 answers
500 views

What are SpaceX plans for Starship with respect to Moon landing and then takeoff?

Starship uses Raptor engines which in turn uses liquid methane as fuel. The idea for using methane as fuel being - methane can be produced on Mars from CO2 and H2O. And using the onsite produced ...
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4 votes
2 answers
203 views

Were there any experiments that produced rocket fuel grade methane on mars?

One of the main reasons that SpaceX's Starship engine raptor uses methane is because it can theoretically be produced there from atmospheric CO2 and subsurface H2O. Where there any experiments that ...
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3 votes
1 answer
331 views

Methane or LOX tank at Boca Chica

As we can see on this picture from Mary "@bocachicagal" on NASASpaceFlight, there are two types of tank near the test stand. Some are black and others are white or bright and shiny metal, ...
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17 votes
6 answers
6k views

Sending rockets to space will eventually consume all of our resources?

Imagine that we somehow manage to maintain frequent trips Earth <-> Mars. I'm not sure what fuel we use but I've read somewhere that it's methane due to its cheap cost. As the trip goes on for 6 ...
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3 votes
0 answers
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Can expander cycle engines fueled by methane or propane be practical?

It seems like all expander cycle engines currently in operation or in development use liquid hydrogen as fuel. The answer to this question indicates that RP1 won't work for EC engines because of its ...
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2 votes
1 answer
54 views

Could the NOMAD instrument on the TGO detect methane at night with sufficient reflected sunlight or artificial light?

Nadir and Occultation for MArs Discovery (NOMAD) is a 3-channel spectrometer on board the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO). Both the solar occultation (SO), and the limb nadir and occultation (LNO) ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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How did JPL detonate a liquid oxygen methane mixture with light?

This answer to Pre-mixing cryogenic fuels and using only one fuel tank quotes John D. Clark's Ignition! Chapter 11: The Hopeful Monoprops, and the quote includes the line: How he avoided ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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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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35 votes
3 answers
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Is it possible that Curiosity Rover measured its own methane or failed doing the spectrometry?

NASA published past June high methane concentrations were measured at Mars. This week, NASA's Curiosity Mars rover found a surprising result: the largest amount of methane ever measured during the ...
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3 votes
3 answers
243 views

What new has come from the recent methane findings on Mars?

I was reading: https://www.cnet.com/news/nasas-curiosity-rover-makes-surprising-methane-gas-discovery-on-mars/ And, yes, I realize that cnet is not a good source of information, however it's more ...
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4 votes
1 answer
252 views

Will the Mars 2020 rover's sensitivity to methane be better than Curiosity's?

The New York Times article NASA Rover on Mars Detects Puff of Gas That Hints at Possibility of Life describes the newest detection of a "whiff" of methane on Mars. The article states that ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Could in situ (in-rocket) evaporative cooling/refrigeration be used for methane or hydrogen cryogenic propellants?

@Uwe's excellent answer to the question Why would sub-cooled LOX tanks need to “topped-off” until the last minute or so? explains that the LOX is sub-cooled in situ within the rocket's tank using ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Conditions on Titan under which human breath can be set to fire

Motivated by the question Titan vs Mars for colonization, I wonder what exactly happens if human exhalation products are released into Titanian atmosphere and, say, a spark igniter happens to be ...
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6 votes
1 answer
632 views

How will Robotic Refueling Mission-3's liquid methane tank remain full for six months without any boil off?

Space.com's Lasers, Crystals and 36,000 Worms Will Ride a SpaceX Dragon to Space Station says: To fly on those journeys, astronauts might have to someday harvest fuel from the surface of the moon ...
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4 votes
2 answers
161 views

Why are there no methane detectors with "the mole" of the Insight lander?

A possible geophysical source of methane on Mars could be ancient methane trapped in clathrate hydrates in the subsurface that may be released occasionally. In a not secured (!) article of ESA about ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Spacesuit needed for 1 psi 100% methane atmosphere - 60 Fahrenheit?

What sort of spacesuit would an astronaut need if she were to walk on a planet with a 1 psi (0.07 ATM) 100% methane atmosphere and -60°F (-50°C) temperatures?
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3 votes
1 answer
192 views

NASA's Curiosity Rover - Carbon Isotope Ratio of Methane?

The following is taken from Sinha & Rral , 2015: "NASA's Curiosity rover has the capability to search for organic compounds and to identify the chemical and isotopic composition of the Martian ...
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1 answer
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Methane and the Search for Life on Mars

I was wondering, if we measured the carbon isotopic ratio of methane on Mars and found that it was very negative (i.e. it contained more carbon-12 than carbon-13), would this provide definitive proof ...
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9 votes
1 answer
264 views

What exactly are the recent observations of organics on Mars? What's the data?

There is news of organic molecules on Mars, an event in the press. What exactly are the measurements? I've heard something about atmospheric methane, is this determined from some absorption peaks in ...
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10 votes
1 answer
343 views

Methane on Mars - Can we locate the source?

I know that Methane has been detected on Mars, however there seems to be a lack of specific information about the location and concentration of the Methane. Would it be possible to pinpoint the source ...
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5 votes
2 answers
257 views

How does methane waste produced by the ISS interact with our Atmosphere?

The ISS uses a Sabatier reactor to recover oxygen from carbon dioxide. This has an output product of methane. I would imagine that most methane that enters our atmosphere at ground level only reaches ...
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4 votes
0 answers
237 views

Is ISRO Making a Methane Engine?

I'd read some stray comment on the internet claiming that ISRO is working on a methane-LOX engine, just as a technology demonstrator. Is this true?
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2 answers
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How much methane to push Titan into Saturn?

How much methane would have to be expended (think Raptor engine) to propel Titan into Saturn? It's clearly a humongous amount.
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4 votes
1 answer
514 views

How would the Saturn V have differed if the first stage was using liquid methane and LOX?

We have seen here the excellent answer to the question: How would the Saturn V have differed if the first stage was also LH2/LOX? What if liquid methane would be used instead of kerosene? Would the ...
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