NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover has made breathable oxygen on Mars.

Iran Press/America: In another huge first, we have finally made oxygen on Mars and created a milestone for the ISRU community. NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover has successfully used its MOXIE instrument and generated oxygen from the thin, carbon dioxide-dominated atmosphere in Mars for the first time ever. Converting the Martian atmosphere, in order to generate oxygen, may actually help astronauts to explore the Red planet someday.

The task was accomplished on April 20, a milestone observed just a day after another epic Martian first – the first Mars flight of NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter was observed which rode to the Red Planet on the rover’s belly. Today, in a world’s first, a toaster-size, six-wheeled robot aboard Perseverance called the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilisation Experiment (MOXIE) has completed the task of generating oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, giving a path to store oxygen on Mars, Gulte reported.

This will help power rockets to lift astronauts off the planet’s surface with devices providing breathable air for astronauts themselves. “This is a critical first step at converting carbon dioxide to oxygen on Mars,” Jim Reuter, associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate said. Talking about how MOXIE works, it is done by separating oxygen atoms from carbon dioxide molecules, which are made up of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms.

The waste carbon monoxide is emitted into the Martian atmosphere. The whole process requires high levels of heat to reach a temperature of approximately 1,470 degrees Fahrenheit (800 Celsius). Also, the MOXIE unit is made with heat-tolerant materials. In this first operation, MOXIE produced about 5 grams of oxygen, equivalent to 10 minutes worth of breathable oxygen for an astronaut.

MOXIE likely will generate up to 10 grams of oxygen per hour for future tests. The instrument will run tests about nine more times over the next two years, and the research team will use data to design future generations of MOXIE.


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