The first attempt to grow oxygen on an alien world has failed

After exceeding NASA’s initial objectives and demonstrating capabilities that could assist future astronauts in exploring Mars, the first experiment to produce oxygen on another planet has ended on the red planet.

The Perseverance rover houses the microwave-sized MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment) device.

A few months after the rover landed on Mars, the experiment began more than two years ago. NASA reports that MOXIE has produced 122 grams of oxygen since then, or the amount of oxygen that a small dog consumes in ten hours. The instrument works by changing over a portion of Mars’ copious carbon dioxide into oxygen.

During the pinnacle of its effectiveness, Pizazz created 12 grams of oxygen an hour at 98% immaculateness or better, which is two times as much as NASA’s objectives for the instrument. After meeting all of its requirements, MOXIE began operation for the 16th and final time on August 7.

In a statement, NASA headquarters director of technology demonstrations Trudy Kortes said, “We’re proud to have supported a breakthrough technology like MOXIE that could turn local resources into useful products for future exploration missions.” We have moved one step closer to the day when astronauts “live off the land” on Mars by demonstrating this technology in the real world.

implications for MOXIE The slender atmosphere of Mars is 96% carbon dioxide, which is not very helpful to humans who breathe oxygen. MOXIE divides carbon dioxide molecules, each of which contains two oxygen atoms and one carbon atom. As a waste product, it releases carbon monoxide as it separates oxygen molecules. The instrument’s system checks the oxygen’s purity and quantity as the gases move through it.

The instrument was made of heat-resistant materials, like a coating of gold and aerogel, because this conversion process requires temperatures of 1,470 degrees Fahrenheit (798 degrees Celsius). The materials prevented the heat from radiating outside and causing damage to the rover in any way.

A device capable of efficiently converting carbon dioxide into oxygen could be beneficial in multiple ways. In the future, bigger and better versions of something like MOXIE could supply breathing air to life support systems and convert and store oxygen for rocket fuel used to launch back to Earth.

NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy stated in a statement, “MOXIE’s impressive performance shows that it is possible to extract oxygen from Mars’ atmosphere.” Oxygen could aid in the supply of breathable air or rocket propellant for future astronauts. It is essential to develop technologies that enable us to utilize resources on Mars and the Moon in order to establish a robust lunar economy, support a first human exploration mission to Mars, and establish a long-term lunar presence.

On the first journey from Earth to Mars, transporting thousands of pounds of oxygen and rocket propellant would be extremely challenging, costly, and would require less space on the spacecraft for other necessities. Astronauts might be able to live essentially off the land and make use of the resources in their surroundings with the assistance of MOXIE technology.

The small MOXIE experiment’s lessons can now be applied to create a larger system with an oxygen generator that can also liquefy and store oxygen.

In any case, the following significant stage in the process is to test different advances on Mars that could assist investigation, similar to devices and environment materials.

“We have to make decisions about which things need to be validated on Mars,” said Michael Hecht, MOXIE principal investigator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in a statement. “I think there are many technologies on that list; I’m very pleased MOXIE was first.”