BREAKING: NASA Successfully Makes Oxygen On Mars And It Will Eventually Sustain Human Exploration
NASA’s Perseverance rover has successfully converted Martian carbon dioxide into oxygen for the first time, marking a major milestone in the effort to sustain human exploration of the Red Planet. The achievement was announced by NASA on April 21, 2021, and represents a significant step forward in the agency’s efforts to establish a human presence on Mars.
The technology used to produce oxygen on Mars is called the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE). The instrument is roughly the size of a car battery and is designed to extract oxygen from the carbon dioxide-rich Martian atmosphere.
MOXIE works by heating Martian carbon dioxide to a temperature of over 1,470 degrees Fahrenheit (800 degrees Celsius), which causes it to break down into oxygen and carbon monoxide. The oxygen is then cooled and stored for use by future astronauts, while the carbon monoxide is vented back into the Martian atmosphere.
The successful operation of MOXIE is a major breakthrough for NASA’s Mars exploration program, as it demonstrates that it is possible to produce oxygen on the Red Planet using only locally available resources. This is a critical capability for any human mission to Mars, as it would be prohibitively expensive to transport all of the necessary oxygen from Earth.
The production of oxygen on Mars also has a number of other important implications. For example, it could be used to produce rocket fuel for the return trip to Earth, greatly reducing the cost and complexity of Mars missions.
In addition to MOXIE, the Perseverance rover is equipped with a number of other scientific instruments that will be used to explore Mars and search for evidence of past or present life. These instruments include a high-resolution camera, a weather station, and a ground-penetrating radar system.
The Perseverance mission also includes the Mars Sample Return campaign, which aims to collect and return samples of Martian rock and soil to Earth for analysis. This would provide scientists with a wealth of information about the geology and history of Mars, as well as the potential for past or present microbial life.
The success of MOXIE and the Perseverance mission overall are major milestones in the history of space exploration. They demonstrate that it is possible to conduct complex scientific experiments and operations on other planets, and that human exploration of Mars may be closer than ever before.
NASA has set a goal of landing humans on Mars by the 2030s, and the successful operation of MOXIE brings that goal one step closer to reality. However, there are still many challenges that must be overcome before humans can safely and sustainably explore the Red Planet.
One of the biggest challenges facing any Mars mission is the harsh environment. The planet is exposed to high levels of radiation and has a thin atmosphere that provides little protection from the sun’s harmful rays. The surface is also covered in fine dust that can be abrasive and difficult to remove.
Another major challenge is the cost of Mars missions. Sending humans to Mars would be an incredibly expensive undertaking, requiring massive amounts of resources and infrastructure. This has led to concerns about the feasibility of such missions, particularly in an era of tight budgets and competing priorities.
Despite these challenges, NASA remains committed to exploring Mars and establishing a human presence on the Red Planet. The success of MOXIE and the Perseverance mission overall provide a glimpse of what is possible with determination, ingenuity, and perseverance.
In the coming years, NASA and other space agencies around the world will continue to push the boundaries of space exploration, conducting ever more ambitious missions and pushing the limits of what is possible. Whether it is on Mars or elsewhere in the solar system, the quest to understand the universe and our place in it will continue to inspire and captivate people around the world.