After making the first powered flight on another world, NASA’s Mars 2020 mission has managed another amazing feat. Making breathable oxygen out of Martian air.
The latest work from NASA’s Perseverance Rover could make human exploration easier in the future.
NASA announced that an instrument aboard the rover had successfully extracted carbon dioxide from the atmosphere on Mars and then electrochemically split oxygen atoms from carbon dioxide molecules.
How does it work? Well, I’m not a rocket scientist so I’ll just let these smart guys explain it to you.
The experiment was the first test of Perseverance’s Moxie instrument.
“MOXIE isn’t just the first instrument to produce oxygen on another world,” Trudy Kortes, director of technology demonstrations with NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, said in a statement.
She continued, “Moxie isn’t just the first instrument to produce oxygen on another world, it’s the first technology of its kind that will help future missions ‘live off the land’, using elements of another world’s environment, also known as in-situ resource utilization”.
Engineers hope that MOXIE can be scaled up to produce enough oxygen for future human flights to Mars.
So how much oxygen did the rover make? About 5 grams of pure oxygen. That’s enough to sustain an astronaut for about 10 minutes.
A group of four astronauts on the red planet would require an estimated 1 metric ton of oxygen between them to last an entire year, MOXIE principal investigator Michael Hecht of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said in a NASA news release.
The fantastic feat is considered vital to any long-term stay for humans on Mars.
SO if you’re sick of Earth and all this Covid-19 Lockdown hoopla maybeeee you can start plotting out a plan to hi-tail it to Mars.