A two-year trial to see if NASA The possibility of producing oxygen on Mars ended up producing enough breathable air on the red planet to help a small dog survive, scientists said this week.
The device used to produce oxygen, known as MOXIE (Mars Oxygen Resource In Situ Utilization).) Part of the Mars Perseverance Rover. MOXIE was created to find out if Martian air could produce oxygen, and the machine conducted tests and experiments for two years to explore the answer.
The device was made by innovators at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to help study future human exploration. According to a NASA press release, the device actually produced 122 grams of oxygen, the equivalent of 10 hours of breathable air for a small dog. Moxy produced 12 grams of oxygen per hour with 98% purity, which exceeded NASA’s original expectations.
“We are proud to support advanced technology like MOXIE that can turn domestic resources into useful products for future exploration missions,” said Trudy Curtis, NASA’s technology demonstration manager at NASA Headquarters.
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How does Moxy work?
MOXIE creates molecular oxygen in an electromagnetic process. NASA says this process separates an oxygen atom from every carbon dioxide molecule in the Martian atmosphere. When air passes through the device, it is checked to ensure the purity and quantity of oxygen produced.
On August 7, the device completed its last and final run. It produced 9.8 grams of oxygen. The device proved that it is able to work and continue throughout the year on Mars and in all conditions provided by the Red Planet.
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The mission at a glance
The Mars Perseverance Rover will land on Mars in 2021. The rover has been collecting data about Mars’ geology and past climate for two years. According to NASA, the rover’s main mission goal is to find microbial life by collecting rocks formed by water. This process is called astrobiology.
The rock samples will then be collected by another spacecraft and sent back to Earth for more detailed examination.
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What completing MOXIE means for the future
Although the Mars Perseverance Rover still has a lot of work to complete, MOXIE has proven that future astronauts may be able to use resources from Mars to survive.
The next step is to create MOXIE 2.0 which can complete the same process as the original MOXIE but with a much larger system that can liquefy and store the oxygen produced.
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