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Elon Musk Wants To Turn CO2 Into Rocket Fuel, Here’s How It Would Work

Elon Musk wants to capture carbon out of the atmosphere and turn it into rocket fuel to help fight climate change and enable future Mars missions.

Elon Musk is getting into the CO2 removal business as one of his attempts to alleviate the climate crisis and establish a colony on Mars. This new SpaceX endeavor is preceded by the launch of a $100 million contest to develop the best carbon capture technology. The interest in cutting carbon emissions from Musk’s rockets raises eyebrows from climate experts. However, it is worth analyzing as it could make a positive environmental shift within the aerospace industry.

Scientific consensus has established a direct link between Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from human activities and the rising average global temperatures. Rockets rely on chemical combustion to generate enough thrust and escape Earth’s gravity. Falcon 9 rockets – which are SpaceX’s workhorses – burn fossil-based fuel RP1 and liquid oxygen. RP-1, similar to kerosene, tends to produce a lot of soot particles, carbon dioxide, water vapor, and nitrous oxides, all of which are known for their heat-trapping properties.

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