Oxygen on Mars, for the first time: how Perseverance performance was possible10 November 2021
For the first time in human history, the oxygen so necessary to life was generated on another planet. The performance was carried out by the Perseverance rover and involved the conversion of carbon dioxide from Mars into oxygen.
The Perseverance rover seems to be more capable than originally thought. According to data provided by NASA, during the day on Wednesday, the robot of the American space agency achieved the performance of transforming a small amount of carbon dioxide from the surface of the Red Planet into oxygen. which, at some point, people might breathe.
“This is a crucial first attempt to convert carbon dioxide to oxygen on Mars,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator at NASA.
The experiment took place on April 20 and, predictably, NASA hopes that the next iterations of the instrument used in the conversion process will be able to generate larger amounts of oxygen in a longer time. short. In addition, he hopes that they will be able to prepare the ground for human exploration.
The process could not only produce oxygen for future astronauts to breathe, but it could also avoid transporting large amounts of oxygen from Earth, essential to propelling the rocket for space travel. Return.
The “Mars In-Oxygen Oxygen Resource Experiment” (Moxie) is a gold-sized box of a car battery, located on the right front of the rover. It uses electricity and chemistry to divide CO2 molecules, producing oxygen and carbon monoxide.
In her first experiment, Moxie was able to produce five grams of oxygen. Although at first glance the amount seems insignificant, that value is enough for an astronaut, under normal conditions, to breathe for 10 minutes. As a reference for the performance of the device, it is capable of generating about 10 grams per hour.
Designed by the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Moxie was made of heat-resistant materials to tolerate temperatures of 800 degrees Celsius, necessary for its operation. According to MIT engineer Michael Hecht, a one-ton Moxie – it weighs 17 kilograms – it could produce about 25 tons of oxygen for a rocket to take off from Mars.