Another huge first: converting CO2 into oxygen on Mars. Working off the land with what’s already here, my MOXIE instrument has shown it can be done!
Future explorers will need to generate oxygen for rocket fuel and for breathing on the Red Planet. https://t.co/9sjZT9KeOR
— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) April 21, 2021
NASA’s Perseverance rover creates history again.
The multi-wheeled robot has indulged in converting some carbon dioxide from the Martian atmosphere into oxygen, marking the first time this has occurred on another planet, according to NASA.
“This is a critical first step toward converting carbon dioxide to oxygen on Mars,” Jim Reuter, associate administrator for NASA’s space technology mission directorate, said.
On April 20, a technology demonstration was held, and it is hoped that future versions of the experimental instrument used could pave the way for future human exploration.
Not only can the process produce oxygen for future astronauts to breathe, but it may also eliminate the need to transport massive amounts of oxygen from Earth for use as rocket propellant on the return journey.
The Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment, or MOXIE, is a golden box the size of a car battery that sits inside the rover’s front right side.
It is known as a “mechanical tree” because it splits carbon dioxide molecules, which are made up of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms, using electricity and chemistry.
As a byproduct, it emits carbon monoxide.