NASA’s Perseverance rover has made history by creating enough oxygen on Mars to support an astronaut for three hours, a crucial step towards the potential of human colonisation on the Red Planet.
NASA’s Perseverance Rover
The Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilisation Experiment (MOXIE) gadget, a modest yet novel technology onboard the rover, was used to reach the milestone.
Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilisation Experiment
MOXIE turned carbon dioxide, which makes up 95% of the planet’s atmosphere, into life-sustaining oxygen over the course of two years since its arrival on Mars in February 2021.
MOXIE has created 4.3 ounces (122 grammes) of oxygen thus far, which is similar to what a small dog breaths in 10 hours.
NASA officials are upbeat about the ramifications of this accomplishment.
Trudy Kortes, director of technological demonstrations at NASA Headquarters, emphasised the possibilities for future exploration missions, claiming that humanity has moved one step closer to a future in which astronauts will ‘live off the land’ on Mars.
Furthermore, the extracted oxygen is not only necessary for breathing but also has the potential to be used in the production of rocket fuel.
NASA’s deputy administrator, Pamela Melroy, emphasised the importance of such technology in enabling lunar and Martian missions.
Despite this great development, many problems remain, including the harsh cold of Mars, low atmospheric pressure, radiation exposure, and the influence on bone density during the journey.
Nonetheless, Perseverance continues its mission to look for clues of ancient life on Mars, accompanied by the Ingenuity helicopter, bringing humanity one step closer to discovering the Red Planet’s secrets.
To read our blog on “China’s Mars rover found water signs in April 2023,” click here