OtherHistoric breakthrough at NASA: we can produce life supporting...

Historic breakthrough at NASA: we can produce life supporting oxygen on Mars

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The technology aboard NASA can produce oxygen day and night and at different times of the year.

Several months ago, NASA announced that it had successfully produced oxygen on Mars for the first time. Now, detailed experimental results show that the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) can reliably produce oxygen after being tested seven times under different conditions, day and night, and during two Martian seasons.

NASA has produced oxygen on another planet

As reported in Science Advances, the experiment was able to deliver six grams of oxygen per hour, about as much as a small tree on Earth produces. That may seem modest, but it shows that the technology is capable of accomplishing the ambitious task.

Historic breakthrough at NASA: we can produce life supporting oxygen on Mars
Historic breakthrough at NASA: we can produce life supporting oxygen on Mars

MOXIE is just one of many devices on Perseverance, so it can’t run continuously, as a large-scale version would. It takes hours to warm up and then start working. The Martian air is first filtered and then pressurized. The air is then passed through the solid oxide electrolyzer (SOXE), which breaks it down into carbon monoxide and oxygen. This process takes one hour.

MOXIE has been shown to successfully produce oxygen under marginal conditions during the fall and winter months and at various times of the day and night. The team hopes to test the system in the spring and during rapid atmospheric changes.

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