Mars is Earth’s neighbour and favourite candidate of scientists to search for extra-terrestrial life. The planet is roughly the same size of Earth. It has an atmosphere and a large section of the scientific community thinks that millions of years ago, it had liquid water on its surface and even had life.
Mars surely does have an atmosphere. But it is very thin. It is 100 times thinner than Earth’s atmosphere. And it is abundant in Carbon Dioxide. So a human trying to breathe-in Martian air would soon stop breathing.
But there is something that is making Oxtgen on the red planet. No, it is not some secret jungle but a briefcase-sized machine attached to NASA’s Perseverance rover. The machine is called MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) Experiment).
MOXIE uses Carbon Dioxide in Martian and splits it into Carbon Monoxide and Oxygen. In the year 2021, when Perseverance landed on the surface of Mars, MOXIE made Oxygen seven times.
“This is the first demonstration of actually using resources on the surface of another planetary body, and transforming them chemically into something that would be useful for a human mission,” says former NASA astronaut and MOXIE deputy principal investigator Jeffrey Hoffman of MIT, as quoted by EurekaAlert.
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