After landing at first glance of Mars, NASA’s Perseverance rover took its first breath. Or rather, among its instruments did.
Led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) is really a small instrument on the Perseverance rover that’s made to transform skin tightening and, which comprises some 96% of the atmosphere on Mars, into breathable oxygen. Oxygen, needless to say, is vital for a human mission to Mars. Since February 2021, these devices has run seven times, every time producing about 0.2 ounces (6 grams) of oxygen each hour. That’s on par with the talents of small trees here on Earth.
“This is actually the first demonstration of actually using resources at first glance of another planetary body, and transforming them chemically into a thing that would be ideal for a human mission,” MOXIE deputy principal investigator Jeffrey Hoffman, a professor of the practice in MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and a former NASA astronaut, said in a statement. “It’s historic for the reason that sense.”
MOXIE has operated in a number of conditionson Mars,both night and day, through all seasons. The researchers expect a version of the instrument approximately 100 times bigger than MOXIE may potentially create breathable oxygen for future astronauts who go to the Red Planet. If explorers can’t make their very own oxygen on Mars, supplies from Earth would use up valuable mass on a spacecraft.
Furthermore, MOXIE’s products may be used being an ingredient for rocket fuel pretty essential to ensuring the mission isn’t one-way. A rocket would want 33 to 50 tons (30 to 45 metric tons) of liquid oxygen propellant to be able to launch humans off Mars.
“We’ve learned a significant amount which will inform future systems at a more substantial scale,” said Michael Hecht, principal investigator of the MOXIE mission at MIT’s Haystack Observatory.
The team’s research was published Wednesday (Aug. 31) in the journal Science Advances.
Space.com contributing writer Stefanie Waldek is really a self-taught space nerd and aviation geek who’s passionate about everything spaceflight and astronomy. With a background in travel and design journalism, in addition to a Bachelor of Arts degree from NY University, she focuses on the budding space tourism industry and Earth-based astrotourism. In her leisure time, you will discover her watching rocket launches or finding out about at the stars, wondering what’s out there. Find out more about her just work at www.stefaniewaldek.com (opens in new tab).