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NASA rover converts Co2 to oxygen, through MOXIE

Jun 4, 2021
MOXIE a golden box. Image source NASA/JPL Caltech

NASA sent Perseverance rover to Mars with modern technology which could convert the Carbon Dioxide ( Co2) to oxygen (O2) . The technology resembles the same as a tree converts Co2 to Air.

The device MOXIE Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment converted the Co2 from Mars atmosphere to Oxygen. MOXIE pulled carbon dioxide from Martian atmosphere to convert it’s first OXYGEN. While the amount converted was small just 5.4 grams. Which could keep an astronaut alive in Mars for ten minutes. This experiment proved that the technology can even work on Red Planet.

This is a good news in the prospect of sending a human mission on Mars. Since large space of rockets is occupied by oxygen and it won’t be enough if astronauts did a human mission to Mars. So it’s important to know that if MOXIE could perform it’s same experiment on Red planet to. A human mission on Mars would be possible if the astronauts could convert Co2 ( Carbon dioxide) from Martian atmosphere to Oxygen. For their breathing and fueling the rockets to return to the earth.

” This is a critical step in converting Carbon dioxide to Oxygen on Mars” Said Jim Reuter, the associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, said in a Wednesday in a press release.

Imagination of a artist of Human on Mars

MOXIE has more work to do, but the results from this technology demonstration are full of promise as we move toward our goal of one day seeing humans on Mars,” he added.

Oxygen isn’t just the stuff that we breathe. Rocket propellant depends on Oxygen and future astronauts will have to depend on producing propellants to come back home.

What’s the size of Moxie?

The golden box holding the experiment is about the size of a car battery — just 1% the size of the device scientists actually hope to send to Mars.

MOXIE descendants could ultimately produce enough oxygen — roughly 25 metric tons — to launch four astronauts off the Martian surface. Producing that oxygen on-site would save a lot of space, weight, fuel, and money for the initial journey to Mars.

How does MOXIE pulls out oxygen of things air?

This isn’t the preseverance first technological win this week. Another experiment carried out by NASA, the Ingenuity helicopter made a history on Monday when it flew above the Martian atmosphere for the first time.

Tech demonstrations are a really, really critical element of our portfolio,” Thomas Zurbuchen, an associate administrator at NASA, told Insider ahead of Ingenuity’s flight. “They basically enable new tools in our toolbox.”

NASA expects MOXIE to extract oxygen from the Martian atmosphere at least nine more times over the next two years. This first attempt was designed to make sure the experiment was working. Future runs will test MOXIE’s abilities at different times of day and across Mars’ seasons. The device is designed to generate up to 10 grams of oxygen an hour.

At the very least, MOXIE won’t run out of fuel for these tests. Mars’ atmosphere is 96% carbon dioxide. The device uses heat and electrical currents to split those CO2 molecules into oxygen (O) and carbon monoxide (CO). Oxygen atoms don’t like to be alone for long, so they quickly combine into O2 molecules — the oxygen that we breathe.

The final product of the MOXIE will be pure molecular oxygen. About 99.6% of O2.

MOXIE then releases both Oxygen and Carbon dioxide to the Martian atmosphere. But in future astronauts will save it in tanks which will fuel their way back home.

Scientists installing MOXIE during the preparation of the experiment.

Converting carbon dioxide to oxygen isn’t the only way future astronauts could live off the Martian land. Scientists and engineers have also proposed using on-site rocks to build structures or even digging up Martian or lunar ice to make drinking water or rocket fuel.

Regardless of which method it chooses, NASA will have to get resourceful to expand human presence into deep space. MOXIE’s success puts one more technology in its toolbox.

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