NASA’s Perseverance Rover generates oxygen on Mars for first time


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In the growing list of ‘firsts’ on the Red Planet, NASA’s Perseverance Rover on April 20 successfully generated oxygen from the thin atmosphere of Mars for the first time ever.

The Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE)instrument aboard NASA’s Perseverance Rover created the milestone experiment that ‘could pave the way for science fiction to become science fact’ said NASA in a statement. This can help in storing oxygen and help power rockets off the planet’s surface in the future.

MOXIE, aboard the NASA’s Perseverance Rover, generated about 5 grams (equivalent to 10 minutes of breathable oxygen) just a day after the first flight of NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter.

What is MOXIE?

The Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment is a toaster-sized gold-coated exploration instrument aboard NASA’sPerseverance Rover.

MOXIE is tasked with producing oxygen from the thin, carbon-dioxide dominated atmosphere of Mars. This will aid in providing breathable air for human exploration missions on Mars and propel rockets off the surface of Mars.

How does MOXIE work?

•Mars is approximately 95% carbon dioxide. MOXIE extracts carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and separated the oxygen atoms from the carbon dioxide molecules and releases carbon monoxide as the waste product back into the Martian atmosphere.

•This conversion process is possible when high levels of heat reach a temperature of approximately 1,470 degrees Fahrenheit (800 Celsius).

•MOXIE, made up of heat-tolerant materials. The 3D-printed nickel alloy parts aid in heating and cooling down the gases flowing through MOXIE and aerogel helps in holding the heat. A thin gold coating on the surface prevents from radiating heat outward and damaging the Perseverance rover.

•MOXIE has been designed to produce up to 10 grams of oxygen per hour.

•MOXIE is sponsored by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) and Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.





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