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MOXIE is making Oxygen on Mars

The closest planet to Earth, Mars, is the top contender in the quest for extraterrestrial life. The planet is similar in size to Earth. It has an atmosphere, and the majority of scientists believe that it once had liquid water on its surface and possibly even life.

Without a doubt, Mars has an atmosphere. But it is quite thin. It is a hundred times thinner than the atmosphere of Earth. And the carbon dioxide content is high. Inhaling Martian air would cause a person to quickly stop breathing.

On the red planet, though, something is producing oxygen. No, it’s a tiny device attached to NASA’s Perseverance rover, not a hidden forest. The machine is called MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) Experiment).

In Martian, MOXIE converts carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide and oxygen. When Perseverance touched down on Mars in 2021, MOXIE produced oxygen seven times.

According to MIT’s Jeffrey Hoffman, a former NASA astronaut and MOXIE deputy principle investigator, ‘This is the first demonstration of actually exploiting resources on the surface of another planetary body, and changing them chemically into something that would be usable for a human mission.’


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