In case you missed it, in his 60 Minutes interview on Bloom Energy’s solid oxide fuel cells, company founder K.R. Sridhar recounts how he first got into the field by devising a method for NASA to use solid oxide carbon dioxide electrolysis to produce O2 for future Mars explorers. He says he basically reversed the engineering of the O2 production method to devise his SOFC components.
For those that are curious about that work, here are a few key links to his work (along with G. Tao and C.L. Chan) on that topic:
Oxygen production on Mars using solid oxide electrolysis (Solid State Ionics, 1997)
Study of carbon dioxide electrolysis at electrode/electrolyte interface: Part I. Pt/YSZ interface (Solid State Ionics, 2004)
Sridhar also has pubished in ACerS’ journals:
Experimental Method for a Dynamic Biaxial Flexural Strength Test of Thin Ceramic Substrates (Journal of the American Ceramic Society, 2002)