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NASA's Rover Is Taking a Tree-Like Device That Converts CO2 Into Oxygen to Mars – ScienceAlert

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NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on 30 July, carrying a host of cutting-edge technology including high-definition video equipment and the first interplanetary helicopter.

Many of the tools are designed as experimental steps toward human exploration of the red planet. Crucially, Perseverance is equipped with a device called the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment, or MOXIE: an attempt to produce oxygen on a planet where it makes up less than 0.2 percent of the atmosphere.

Oxygen is a cumbersome payload on space missions. It takes up a lot of room, and it’s very unlikely that astronauts could bring enough of it to Mars for humans to breathe there, let alone to fuel spaceships for the long journey home.

That’s the problem MOXIE is looking to solve. The car-battery-sized robot is a roughly 1 percent scale model of the device scientists hope to one day send to Mars, perhaps in the 2030s.

Like a tree, MOXIE works by taking in carbon dioxide, though it’s designed specifically for the thin Martian atmosphere. It then electrochemically splits the molecules into oxygen and carbon monoxide, and combines the oxygen molecules into O2.

It analyses the O2 for purity, shooting for about 99.6 percent O2. Then it releases both the breathable oxygen and the carbon monoxide back into the planet’s atmosphere. Future scaled-up devices, however, would store the oxygen produced in tanks for eventual use by humans and rockets.

A breakdown of the components inside the MOXIE oxygen generator. (NASA/Wikimedia Commons)

The toxicity of the carbon monoxide produced isn’t a worry, according to Michael Hecht, a principal investigator for MOXIE. The gas reenters the Martian atmosphere but won’t alter it very much.

“If you release the carbon monoxide into the Mars atmosphere, eventually it will combine with a very small amount of residual oxygen that’s there and turn back into carbon dioxide,” Hecht previously told Business Insider.

For that reason, the carbon monoxide also wouldn’t hinder a potential biosphere on Mars – a closed, engineered environment where Earthly life could thrive.

Because MOXIE is a small proof-of-concept experiment, it won’t produce much oxygen – if all goes well, it should be producing about 10 grams per hour, which is roughly the amount of oxygen in 1.2 cubic feet of Earth air. For context, humans need about 19 cubic feet of air per day.

MOXIE will test its capabilities by producing oxygen in one-hour increments intermittently throughout the duration of Perseverance’s mission, according to NASA. The device should start working soon after the rover lands on 18 February 2021.

This article was originally published by Business Insider.

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CP Cancels Holiday Train for 2020 – CFJC Today Kamloops

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September 24, 2020 Calgary

​Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian Pacific (CP) will donate to food banks in communities along its network and host a virtual concert in lieu of its regular Holiday Train program. The modified program will draw attention to food security issues, while ensuring donations go to all food banks that would ordinarily receive them, including those that typically host a Holiday Train event in alternating years.

“COVID-19 has created many challenges for communities across our network and has only increased the need at local food banks and food shelves,” said CP President and Chief Executive Officer Keith Creel. “It is our honor to continue to donate to communities across our network this year, even if the train itself will not run. The spirit of the Holiday Train program and the Christmas spirit will carry on this year through our virtual concert. We will have the Holiday Train rolling again spreading Christmas cheer as soon as it’s safe to do so!”

CP launched the Holiday Train in 1999, and every year since it has traveled across Canada and the northern U.S. raising money, collecting food and drawing attention to the important work of local food banks. In its first 21 years, the train has raised $17.8 million and collected 4.8 million pounds of food for local food banks in communities along CP’s network.

“We are very excited that CP has chosen a safe way to keep the spirit of the CP Holiday Train rolling in support of local food banks like ours in these challenging times,” said Calgary Food Bank President and CEO James McAra. “The need for food bank services has risen substantially over the course of this year and heading into the high-demand winter months. We hope CP’s concert will prompt the train’s supporters to give as generously as they’re able.”

Live music has always been part of the CP Holiday Train tradition. To maintain that tradition, CP will produce a benefit concert, with details to be announced when they’re available.

“We support CP’s decision to hold a virtual concert instead of hosting events that encourage local gathering, though we’ll miss the train’s bright lights and in-person shows,” said Kristine Martin, President of East Side Neighborhood Services, a Minneapolis-based Holiday Train beneficiary food bank. “CP’s generous donations to East Side Neighborhood Services over the years have helped us provide nutritious food to people who have difficulty accessing traditional food shelves or grocery stores. This year, being able to continue providing those services has been even more important. We’re thankful to CP for their continued support and donations again this year.”

CP intends to resume operating the annual train tour in 2021.

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A clearer view of what makes glass rigid – EurekAlert

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IMAGE: A team of scientists led by the University of Tokyo uses computer simulations to study the rigidity of amorphous solids like glass
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Credit: Institute of Industrial Science, the University of Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan – Researchers led by The University of Tokyo employed a new computer model to simulate the networks of force-carrying particles that give amorphous solids their strength even though they lack long range order. This work may lead to new advances in high-strength glass, which can be used for cooking, industrial, and smartphone applications.

Amorphous solids such as glass–despite being brittle and having constituent particles that do not form ordered lattices–can possess surprising strength and rigidity. This is even more unexpected because amorphous systems also suffer from large anharmonic fluctuations. The secret is an internal network of force-bearing particles that span the entire solid which lends strength to the system. This branching, dynamic network acts like a skeleton that prevents the material from yielding to stress even though it makes up only a small fraction of the total particles. However, this network only forms after a “percolation transition” when the number of force-bearing particles exceeds a critical threshold. As the density of these particles increases, the probability that a percolating network that goes from one end to the other increases from zero to almost certain.

Now, scientists from the Institute of Industrial Science at The University of Tokyo have used computer simulations to carefully show the formation of these percolating networks as an amorphous material is cooled below its glass transition temperature. In these calculations, binary particle mixtures were modelled with finite-range repulsive potentials. The team found that the strength of amorphous materials is an emergent property caused by the self-organization of the disordered mechanical architecture.

“At zero temperature, a jammed system will show long-range correlations in stress due to its internal percolating network. This simulation showed that the same is true for glass even before it has completely cooled,” first author Hua Tong says.

The force-bearing backbone can be identified by recognizing that particles in this network are must be connected by at least two strong force bonds. Upon cooling, the number of force-bearing particles increases, until a system-spanning network links together.

“Our findings may open up a way towards a better understanding of amorphous solids from a mechanical perspective,” senior author Hajime Tanaka says. Since rigid, durable glass is highly prized for smartphones, tablets, and cookware, the work can find many practical uses.

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The work is published in Nature Communications as “Emergent solidity of amorphous materials as a consequence of mechanical self-organisation” (DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-18663-7).

About Institute of Industrial Science (IIS), the University of Tokyo

Institute of Industrial Science (IIS), the University of Tokyo is one of the largest university-attached research institutes in Japan.

More than 120 research laboratories, each headed by a faculty member, comprise IIS, with more than 1,000 members including approximately 300 staff and 700 students actively engaged in education and research. Our activities cover almost all the areas of engineering disciplines. Since its foundation in 1949, IIS has worked to bridge the huge gaps that exist between academic disciplines and real-world applications.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

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CP Holiday Train derailed this holiday season due to the pandemic – Barrie 360 – Barrie 360

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The CP Holiday train will not be riding the rails this year to the COVID-19 outbreak.

That said, the spirit of the train will carry on.

“COVID-19 has created many challenges for communities across our network and has only increased the need at local food banks and food shelves,” said CP President and Chief Executive Officer Keith Creel. “It is our honor to continue to donate to communities across our network this year, even if the train itself will not run. The spirit of the Holiday Train program and the Christmas spirit will carry on this year through our virtual concert. We will have the Holiday Train rolling again spreading Christmas cheer as soon as it’s safe to do so!”  

The Holiday train tour, which made a regular stop at Midhurst, was launched in 1999 and has raised $17.8 million and collected 4.8 million pounds of food items.

Live music has always been part of the CP Holiday Train tradition. To maintain that tradition, CP will produce a benefit concert, with details to be announced when they’re available.

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