Oxygen on Mars: Perseverance mission converts carbon dioxide into oxygen

NASA may be one small step closer to being able to send people to Mars all thanks to Perseverance.

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The rover used an instrument about the size of a toaster to take carbon dioxide that’s in Mars’ atmosphere and convert it into oxygen, NASA said.

The mission is called the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment or MOXIE.

MOXIE created about 5 grams of oxygen or 10 minutes of oxygen that an astronaut could breathe. The system makes up to 10 grams an hour, NASA said.

“This is a critical first step at converting carbon dioxide to oxygen on Mars,” Jim Reuter, the associated director for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate group. “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. Oxygen isn’t just the stuff we breathe. Rocket propellant depends on oxygen, and future explorers will depend on producing propellant on Mars to make the trip home.”

Michael Hecht of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Haystack Observatory said that it’s more practical and economical to take a one-ton device to convert oxygen than transporting the 25 tons needed to get future Mars astronauts off of the red planet.

For more on the MOXIE mission, click here.