This finding holds promise for shaping sustainable habitation on the red planet and revolutionizing clean energy production on Earth.
The study repurposed what was once considered waste — rock formations on Mars — turning them into nanomaterials with applications ranging from clean hydrogen fuel to electronic devices resembling transistors, as reported in Eurekalert.
The research focused on exploring nanomaterials, which are minuscule components thousands of times smaller than a human hair. Leveraging resources and techniques used by NASA and the International Space Station, the team investigated the potential of nanomaterials for clean energy production and construction materials on Mars.
The researchers discovered electrical characteristics in gypsum nanoparticles by using low-energy and water-based chemistry, which are sustainable production methods. According to EurekAlert, this discovery creates opportunities for possible renewable energy and technical manufacturing on Mars.
The team used NASA's water extraction technique from Martian gypsum, which was initially intended for human use. Anhydrite, a result of this procedure, was originally considered waste by NASA.
According to the study, anhydrite may be processed to create tagliatelle-shaped nanobelts, which have the potential to be used in sustainable electronics and renewable energy production. Moreover, water can be continuously gathered and reused during the procedure.
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The sterility of Mars may make large-scale electronics manufacturing difficult, but the anhydrite nanobelts offer potential for clean energy production on Earth.
Dr. Boland highlighted the broader potential for eco-friendly breakthroughs, stating, "This opens avenues for sustainable technology and building on Mars but also highlights the broader potential for eco-friendly breakthroughs here on Earth."
He went on to discuss the various uses, including the potential to add materials to fabrics to make them more durable. He highlighted how the procedure, which makes use of naturally available elements, is feasible on Mars and how important it is to develop a viable Martian colony.
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