The Perseverance rover of Mars 2020 Mission of NASA recently converted carbon dioxide into oxygen. This is the first time this has been achieved in another planet. This was achieved by MOXIE, an instrument placed in the front side of the rover.MOXIE is Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilisation Experiment. It is a golden box placed in the front side of the rover.
MOXIE is also called “Mechanical Tree” because, it uses electricity and chemistry to split carbon molecules into carbon and oxygen. In due process, it produces carbon monoxide as a by product.It produces five grams of oxygen in its first run. It is equal to ten minutes of breathable oxygen for an astronaut performing a normal activity.
It is capable of generating ten grams of oxygen in one hour and was designed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).It was built with nickel-alloy. The alloy is heat-resistant and is designated to tolerate temperatures of 1,470 degrees Fahrenheit.It is covered with gold coating so that the heat radiated does not harm the rover. It is capable of producing twenty-five tonnes of oxygen.
Earlier missions have proved the presence of ice in Mars. Scientists believe that extracting oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, that is rich in carbon dioxide is more feasible than extracting oxygen from ice that is present in its under surface.