the rover perseverance of NASA has meant great scientific advances for Martian exploration. Along with the robot, the space agency sent moxiea small device that is part of the Mars Oxygen In Situ Resource Utilization Experiment.
According to Magazine Science Advances, MOXIE has been producing oxygen on our neighboring planet with the Martian air itself ever since and its production is comparable to that of a tree on Earth. In late 2021, the team behind the device demonstrated that it was capable of producing 6 grams per hour over seven separate runs: during the day, at night, in different seasons, and other factors.
Michael Hecht, principal investigator for the MOXIE mission at MIT’s Haystack Observatory (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), explained that the only one that had not tested was to form O2 during sunrise or sunset“when the temperature changes substantially”.
In a statement, the expert assured that they had a plan to produce oxygen at those times of the Martian day: “Once we test it in the laboratory, we can reach that last milestone to show that we can really produce at any time.”
Advances with MOXIE are important for future astronaut expeditions to Mars. SpaceX, Elon Musk’s private space company, is planning a manned mission to the red planet in 2020, for example. In addition, NASA’s Artemis lunar mission is also intended to facilitate the journey to Mars for the 2030s or 2040s.
Jeffrey Hoffman, MOXIE Associate Principal Investigator and Professor at MIT, details that We humans will have to get a lot of stuff to Mars for a human mission there, but oxygen doesn’t have to be one of them.
The researchers behind MOXIE believe that future versions of the device could produce oxygen at the rate of several hundred trees. This will be necessary, since the Martian atmosphere is made up 96% by carbon dioxide.