NASA is developing In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) methods to collect and convert local resources in future missions to Mars in order to reduce mission mass and cost. There is a need for a lightweight, high efficiency dust filter capable of surviving the harsh Mars environment. This filter can be used to remove dust from the Martian
air, which consists of 96% CO2. After processing, O2 can then be extracted from this gas stream. Operating requirements include
- Operation at low atmospheric pressure of Mars (0.1 psia)
- Continuous operation of filter for a minimum of 100 days and up to 480 days.
- Provide 99% collection efficiency of particles that are as small as 0.3 µm.
Cone filter (left), Filter Assembly (right)
We have developed a light-weight, highly efficient filter capable of operation on Mars. A prototype was built and tested in a 0.1 psi environment with a Mars dust simulant that was developed in-house.
- Eliminates more than 99% of dust particles (0.3 µm +) from a gas stream at 0.1 psi with minimal pressure drop and low power consumption.
- Self-cleaning feature allows filter to be operated continuously for long periods of time without maintenance.
The filter is scalable to other flow rates and can accommodate a wide variety of applications. The filter is applicable to any system that is exposed to a dust-ridden environment.
3D Printing the Cone Filter
The metallic cone filter consists of thousands of holes and requires precision 3D printing. The video below shows the 3D printing process that was involved in the construction of the cone filter.
The cone filter was 3D printed at Advanced Graphics Systems (AGS)