Days afterThe team behind NASA’s Perseverance probe achieved the first success on Mars. The wandering science lab was able to extract oxygen from Mars’ atmosphere, about 96% of the carbon dioxide.
The rotating robot has an experimental tool on the size of a toaster called the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment, also known as Moxie, and on Tuesday it successfully stripped oxygen atoms from molecules. Of carbon dioxide to create oxygen
“This is an important first step in converting carbon dioxide to oxygen on Mars,” said Jim Reuter, NASA’s assistant space technology mission administrator, in a statement. But the results of this demonstration of this technology are full of promise as we move towards our goal of seeing humans on Mars someday.
Reuter added that similar technology could be used to create propellants and ventilated air for future explorers.
On the first run, Moxie extracted approximately 5 grams of oxygen, or the equivalent of about 10 minutes of ventilated oxygen for one person. The device is designed to generate up to 10 grams of oxygen per hour, so you don’t want to rely on it for your survival, but NASA hopes its more powerful successors can be used to produce tons of oxygen. Throughout their life
The plan was for Moxie to extract at least nine more oxygen during the first two years of the rover’s voyage.
Moxie principal investigator Michael Hecht said the team would introduce “new wrinkles, such as running in which we compare running at three or more different temperatures,” he added. “We will try to perform tests under different time of day and season conditions … We will push the envelope.”
Bottom Line: When astronauts first inhaled locally produced oxygen on Mars, they probably had this golden toaster device to thank.
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