NASA has launched its CO2 Conversion Challenge to explore ways of using carbon dioxide to generate glucose molecules.
Carbon dioxide is plentiful in the Martian atmosphere, and if researchers can discover ways of using the substance to create useful materials it could greatly improve the potential for supporting human life on the planet.
The initial focus of the challenge will be the generation of glucose, which can be used to create a variety of useful products – including fuel for microbial bioreactors.
“Because CO2 is readily abundant within the Martian atmosphere, such technologies will translate into in-situ manufacturing of products to enable humans to live and thrive on the planet, and also be implemented on Earth by using both waste and atmospheric CO2 as a resource,” said NASA.
In the first phase of the challenge, researchers can submit concept designs for their approach to the generation of glucose using carbon dioxide.
Once all entries have been filed, NASA will select up to five finalists who will be awarded $50,000 each to build a functional system based on their concept designs.