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Space & Astronomy

Perseverance rover has created oxygen on Mars

By T.K. Randall
April 24, 2021 · Comment icon 6 comments

Perseverance's MOXIE instrument during construction. Image Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
NASA's car-sized rover has successfully managed to turn the Martian atmosphere into breathable oxygen.
The space agency has been celebrating a lot of scientific firsts recently such as the maiden flight of the Ingenuity helicopter which last week marked the first powered, controlled flight on another world.

Not to be outdone, the Perseverance rover has now achieved its own first for science by converting some of the carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere into oxygen - something that had never done before on another planet.

To accomplish this, it used an on-board instrument known as the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment - or MOXIE - a car battery-sized device described as a 'mechanical tree'.
To make oxygen, the device works by splitting carbon dioxide molecules which are comprised of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms.

Such an achievement is important because if it is possible to produce oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, future settlers will be able to produce their own breathable air.

It will also be possible to create fuel on Mars as well, reducing the need to ferry it from Earth.

"This is a critical first step at converting carbon dioxide to oxygen on Mars," said NASA's Jim Reuter, associate administrator for the agency's space technology mission directorate.

Source: Science Alert | Comments (6)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Ethan13 3 years ago
Great experiment. I wonder how well this will work. This is one of those wonderful things that can make cities on Mars possible for us. Or maybe this will help us purify the air in megacities on Earth?   
Comment icon #2 Posted by Eldorado 3 years ago
The growing list of "firsts" for Perseverance, NASA's newest six-wheeled robot on the Martian surface, includes converting some of the Red Planet's thin, carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere into oxygen. A toaster-size, experimental instrument aboard Perseverance called the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) accomplished the task. The test took place April 20, the 60th Martian day, or sol, since the mission landed Feb. 18.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Nosy.Matters 3 years ago
to breathe ? what about nitrogen water vapor apx. circa 78~79.?* percent depending on location. . . ? or it's for fuel propulsion what they're meaning/leaning toward?
Comment icon #4 Posted by jethrofloyd 3 years ago
Let's celebrate it with this song.  
Comment icon #5 Posted by FlyingAngel 3 years ago
Fine, do it on Earth first to clear pollution please.
Comment icon #6 Posted by keithisco 3 years ago
What do we do with the Carbon that is produced?

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