NASA’s Perseverance Makes History; Creates Oxygen On Mars For The First Time

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NASA Perseverance rover has been doing a great job at exploring the Martian surface. With its helicopter Ingenuity, the duo has been sending back stunning images of Mars, helping astronomers better understand the Red Planet. Now, the Perseverance has added another feather to its cap. The rover has successfully managed to generate oxygen on Mars.

 

NASA’s Perseverance Creates Oxygen On Mars For The First Time

NASA Perseverance Creates Oxygen On Mars

NASA released an official statement confirming that the Perseverance rover produced oxygen from the thin atmosphere on Mars. The scientific community and space enthusiasts are thrilled by the news as it promises better possibilities for future astronauts to generate breathable air. Additionally, the oxygen produced also acts as a catalyst to fire up rockets to return to Earth.

The premier space agency notes that a future mission to Mars would involve four astronauts for the Mars mission. The astronauts would require around sever metric tons of rocker fuel and 25 metric tons of oxygen. And the astronauts living and working on Mars would require about one metric ton, which sums up to a massive total, which Perseverance is now gearing up to work on.

NASA’s Perseverance Creates Oxygen On Mars For The First Time

How Did Perseverance Generate Oxygen?

Now, coming to the interesting experiment that Perseverance rover has successfully accomplished. The operation is called MOXIE, which expands to Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment. To note, Perseverance has now generated 5 grams of oxygen from the carbon dioxide available on Mars, which is 10 minutes of breathing air for an astronaut.

MOXIE works like a tree, taking in Carbon Dioxide and releasing Oxygen. To note, Carbon Dioxide makes up around 96 percent of the gas on the Martian planet. Oxygen is available, but only about 0.13 percent, which is insignificant compared to the 21 percent available on Earth.

Going into the details, MOXIE is around the size of a car battery and is placed in the Perseverance rover. The generation of Oxygen happens when MOXIE heats CO2 at a temperature of around 800 Degree-Celcius, which separated Oxygen atoms from Carbon Dioxide molecules. Carbon Monoxide is released as a waste product, which is released in the Martian atmosphere.

 

NASA's Perseverance Pays Off

The latest accomplishment has brought in cheers from scientists across the world. Perseverance has had a commendable journey of surviving seven months in deep space before landing safely on Mars. That's not all. It has carried crucial equipment, including the Ingenuity helicopter. And now, it has succeeded in generating oxygen.

NASA’s Perseverance Creates Oxygen On Mars For The First Time

NASA notes the MOXIE in the experiment is only a test model. This model can generate only up to 10 grams of Oxygen and takes up to an hour. Future models need to be 100 times larger and efficient to support the astronauts heading out to Mars. Plus, the Oxygen will also need to support rocket liftoff from Mars.

"Liquid oxygen propellant is something we could make there and not have to bring with us. One idea would be to bring an empty oxygen tank and fill it up on Mars," said Michael Hecht, MOXIE's Principal Investigator. For now, NASA has taken one successful step that could help explore an uncharted path.

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