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Saturday, May 1, 2021

the politics of Oxygen and its production in Mars !!

The second wave of Corona and the high increase in the no. of persons affected is showing some States in poor light but they are still trying to play the blame-game without caring to do any administration. Sad is the state of affairs.

'Not Wave, But Tsunami': Delhi HC Censured Kejriwal Govt Over Oxygen Crisis in National Capital.  The Delhi High Court said on Saturday that if any official at the central, state or local administration was obstructing in the picking up or supply of oxygen, then “we will hang that man". The observation by a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli came during hearing of a plea by Maharaja Agrasen Hospital over shortage of oxygen for seriously-ill covid patients.

Have you read or heard of – ‘Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier’    a French nobleman and chemist who was central to the 18th-century chemical revolution.  At the height of the French Revolution, he was charged with tax fraud and selling adulterated tobacco, and was guillotined.

The much sought and spoken about ‘OXYGEN’ is a chemical element with the symbol O and atomic number 8. It is a member of the chalcogen group in the periodic table, a highly reactive nonmetal, and an oxidizing agent that readily forms oxides with most elements as well as with other compounds. After hydrogen and helium, oxygen is the third-most abundant element in the universe by mass. Oxygen is continuously replenished in Earth's atmosphere by photosynthesis, which uses the energy of sunlight to produce oxygen from water and carbon dioxide.  Oxygen was isolated by Michael Sendivogius before 1604, but it is commonly believed that the element was discovered independently by Carl Wilhelm Scheele, in Uppsala, in 1773 or earlier, and Joseph Priestley in Wiltshire, in 1774. Priority is often given for Priestley because his work was published first.  Common uses of oxygen include production of steel, plastics and textiles, brazing, welding and cutting of steels and other metals, rocket propellant, oxygen therapy, and life support systems in aircraft, submarines, spaceflight and diving.

Amid surge in COVID-19 infections, Centre on Sunday directed the states to ensure that the use of liquid oxygen is not allowed for any non-medical purpose, PTI reported. It also asked oxygen plants to maximise production and make oxygen available to it for medical use only with immediate effect, amid COVID surge. “Entire stock of liquid oxygen should be used for medical purposes, no exception to any industry,” said Central government. The first Oxygen Express train for Delhi carrying around 70 tonnes of the public health commodity will depart from Jindal Steel Works plant in Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh on Sunday night, a senior Railway official said. The train will reach Delhi with four tankers by Monday night, Railway Board Chairman Suneet Sharma said. He said that the railways has planned to transport medical oxygen from Angul, Kalingnagar, Rourkela and Raigarh to Delhi-NCR region, which is grappling with acute oxygen shortage amid rising Covid cases. The Delhi government has been asked to get road tankers ready to obtain the oxygen, he added.

Addressing the press on Sunday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal  who had earlier held the view that ‘lockdown is unnecessary’ announced that the lockdown in the National Capital would be extended by another week in view of a rising number of coronavirus cases. “The corona situation had worsened, which is why we started a 6-day lockdown last week, which ends tomorrow morning. With cases rising at a rapid rate, it was necessary for us to start a lockdown,” he said. “It was a weapon we wielded to fight the pandemic. Given that cases are still rising, we have consulted with the people of Delhi and decided to extend the lockdown by one more week.”

The PM CARES Fund has given in-principle approval for allocation of funds for the installation of 551 dedicated Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) Medical Oxygen Generation Plants inside public health facilities to address the oxygen crisis across the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed that these plants should be made functional as soon as possible. He said that these plants will serve as a major boost to oxygen availability at the district level.

Away on space, the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) is a technology demonstration on the NASA Mars 2020 rover Perseverance investigating the production of oxygen on Mars. On April 20, 2021, MOXIE produced oxygen from carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere by using solid oxide electrolysis. This was the first experimental extraction of a natural resource from another planet for human use. The technology may be scaled up for use in a human mission to the planet to provide breathable oxygen, oxidiser, and propellant; water may also be produced by combining the produced oxygen with hydrogen. The experiment was a collaboration between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Haystack Observatory, the NASA/Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and other institutions.

Oxygen production was first achieved on April 20, 2021 in Jezero Crater, producing 5.37 grams per hour (0.189 oz/h) of oxygen, equivalent to what an astronaut on Mars would need to breathe for roughly 10 minutes.  MOXIE is planned to isolate oxygen a further nine more times over the course of approximately two Earth years, or one Martian year, in three stages.   

The man mentioned at the Antoine Lavoisier is credited with naming Oxygen.   He is widely considered in popular literature as the "father of modern chemistry". It is generally accepted that Lavoisier's great accomplishments in chemistry stem largely from his changing the science from a qualitative to a quantitative one. Lavoisier is most noted for his discovery of the role oxygen plays in combustion. He recognized and named oxygen (1778) and hydrogen (1783), and opposed the phlogiston theory. Lavoisier helped construct the metric system, wrote the first extensive list of elements, and helped to reform chemical nomenclature. He predicted the existence of silicon (1787) and discovered that, although matter may change its form or shape, its mass always remains the same. Lavoisier was a powerful member of a number of aristocratic councils, and an administrator of the Ferme générale. The Ferme générale was one of the most hated components of the Ancien Régime because of the profits it took at the expense of the state, the secrecy of the terms of its contracts, and the violence of its armed agents. All of these political and economic activities enabled him to fund his scientific research. At the height of the French Revolution, he was charged with tax fraud and selling adulterated tobacco, and was guillotined.

Interesting ! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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