Hydrogen (periodic table symbol: H1) is a chemical element that can be found in the atmosphere and in frozen water on Mars. Free hydrogen is usually in the form of the H2 molecule. Hydrogen is one proton with no neutrons. If a neutron is added to the nucleus the resulting isotope is known as Deuterium. If a second neutron is added the isotope is Tritium, a radioactive isotope that eventually decays into He3.
Liquid hydrogen has a density of 70 kg/m3. Gaseous hydrogen (H2) at standard atmospheric pressure and temperature has a density of 0,089 kg/m3.
The metabolism of human beings, animals and microbes depends on water, composed of hydrogen and oxygen. The human body contains about 70% water. Human beings need about 2 liters water per day for drinking, hard working people need even more. Some organisms, Xenotrophs, can directly metabolize hydrogen as a source of energy.
Hydrogen can be produced by electrolysis of water, thermally via the Sulfur/Iodine cycle or with CO to produce syngas in the Zinc/Sulfur/Iodine cycle. Thermal production of hydrogen can be achieved using nuclear heat, enhanced with a turboinductor to achieve the high required operating temperatures. Hydrogen can also be produced through the catalytic decomposition of ammonia, allowing for the non cryogenic storage of bulk hydrogen.
- Hydrogen may be used directly as a fuel for a propulsion system, or, through the Sabatier reaction, in the form of methane for the same purpose.
- Hydrogen can be used to react with iron ore or aluminium ore to create metals and water.
- Hydrogen can be combined with carbon to form methane or methanol to feed methanotrophs, creating carbohydrates, amino acids and hydrocarbons, the building blocks of all living organisms.