NASA continues to break new ground in its most recent Mars mission. NASA now the carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere pure and breathable oxygen into converting that case. The unprecedented extraction of oxygen from thin air on the Red Planet was accomplished by an experimental device on a six-wheeled science explorer named Perseverance.
NASA shares that at its initial activation, the MOXIE toaster-sized vehicle, short for the Mars Oxygen In-situ Sourcing Experiment, produced about 5 grams of oxygen, which is equivalent to about 10 minutes of breathing for an astronaut. In this sense, the first experimental extraction of natural resources from another planet’s environment for direct use by humans was achieved. Meanwhile, it is underlined that the MOXIE is not the first device to produce oxygen in another world, but the first technology of its kind to help future missions live on another planet’s territory.
The device works through electrolysis, which uses excessive heat to separate oxygen atoms from carbon dioxide molecules that make up about 95 percent of the atmosphere on Mars. With only about 1 percent of Earth’s density, the remaining 5 percent of the Martian atmosphere is mainly composed of molecular nitrogen and argon. So Oxygen is found in trace amounts on Mars.
NASA says the MOXIE is designed to produce 10 grams per hour as a proof of concept, and scientists plan to operate the machine at least 9 more times under different conditions and speeds in the next 2 years.
It should be noted that the first oxygen conversion study was carried out one day after NASA flew a helicopter on another planet.