NASA is extracting breathable oxygen from the Martian atmosphere

NASA is extracting breathable oxygen from the Martian atmosphere

Moxie is the colloquial name NASA Used to summon an experiment using oxygen resources at the site on Mars. It is a yellow cube placed El rover, Which for the first time managed to generate oxygen in the Martian atmosphere, according to NASA in a statement April 21.

Since perseverance reached the surface of the Red Planet, humanity’s rosary was first unleashed, and this week in particular the first flight of a plane in the atmosphere of another planet was added, even a generation Oxygen In a hostile atmosphere – consisting of 96% carbon dioxide – which is a solid first step to thinking about the potential future generation of an environment that would allow the sustainability of astronaut lives in Mars.

Moxie It is a box the size of a car battery with a mass of 17 kilograms – ie Mars It became nearly six and a half kilograms – and that was put inside Perseverance in the rover.

In the first test taken, Moxie She was able to extract about five grams of oxygen, which can take about 10 minutes of breathing for the average person.

The robot has the potential to generate up to 10 grams of oxygen per hour, which is small, however Moxie It’s just a prototype for testing, and NASA envisions future oxygen generators to support human missions Mars It should be about 100 times larger.

(gif: NASA)

This is a critical first step in converting carbon dioxide into oxygen MarsJim Reuter, a member of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Department (STMD), explained.

Moxie There is more work to be done, but the results of this technology demonstration are full of promises as we move towards our goal of seeing Humans on Mars “, Added.

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According to Reuter, not only must oxygen be inhaled, but a rocket propellant also needs to be inhaled Oxygen To burn 30 to 45 metric tons of fuel – the weight of the space shuttle – used to take off, so that a future human mission in Mars He’ll also rely on this oxygen for his return trip to Earth.

Breathe on another planet

The long-term goal is that in Mars More than three-quarters of the oxygen humans need to explore Red planet. Depending NASA accounts, A rocket raising four astronauts from the surface of Mars would require about 7 metric tons of fuel and up to 25 metric tons of oxygen to burn that fuel. For their part, the astronauts on Mars need less oxygen to live and work, using about a metric tonne of oxygen between them.

Action Moxie It’s similar to what the tree would do, as it absorbs carbon dioxide from the Martian atmosphere and turns it into oxygen. While gas is in the atmosphere Red planet It is composed of 96% carbon dioxide, oxygen only 0.13%, while oxygen on Earth makes up 21% of the atmosphere.

«Moxie Trudy Curtis, director of technology demonstrations at STMD, explained that it is not just the first tool for producing oxygen in another world, The first technology That would help future missions to live by using the environmental elements of another world, that is, the use of on-site resources. New time for the first time for humanity on the neighboring planet.

Pat Maxwell

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