Konstantinos P. Giapis, a Greek professor of chemical engineering at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), recently invented a completely innovative way of producing oxygen from carbon dioxide that could prove useful in mankind’s exploration of Mars.
His brilliant idea could become the foundation of future human missions to Mars, as it could provide breathable oxygen to astronauts who will travel on long space missions to reach the red planet.
Greek Professor’s Idea Could Assist Explorations of Mars
Dr. Giapis, along with his postdoctoral fellow Yunxi Yao, and Tom Miller, a professor of chemistry, managed to demonstrate that each time molecules of water were shot as tiny bullets onto oxygen-containing surfaces, such as rust, for example, the molecules of water could produce molecular oxygen by ripping off the oxygen which had been part of the rust.
This reaction is similar to what happens in comets, in which vaporized molecules of water are accelerated by the solar wind of space and then crash back onto the surface of the comet, generating oxygen.
The Greek scientist claims that this process could be used in the future by machines that would generate oxygen for astronauts.
Apart from this, it is believed that the system could help fight climate change, as well, by taking carbon dioxide out of the air and then releasing oxygen.
The Greek scientist and his colleagues published their innovative findings in the scientific journal Nature Communications in 2019.
Dr. Giapis is a Professor of Chemical Engineering and a graduate of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and the University of Minnesota.
He obtained his Diploma from the National Technical University of Athens in 1984 and finished his Ph.D. studies at the University of Minnesota in 1989.
Since then, he has worked as a Lacey Instructor in Caltech between 1992 and 1993, as an Assistant Professor between 1993 and 1998, and as an Associate Professor between 1999 and 2010. Since 2010, he has been a Professor.
He is currently teaching Chemical Engineering Design Laboratory and Heterogeneous Kinetics and Reaction Engineering at Caltech.