September eighth, 2023
NASA’s microwave-sized oxygen-generating MOXIE expertise demonstrator has accomplished its mission on Mars.
MOXIE stands for Mars Oxygen In-Situ Useful resource Utilization Experiment. It was despatched to the Crimson Planet aboard NASA’s robotic Perseverance rover and was designed to demonstrate the feasibility of producing oxygen on Mars by extracting it from the planet’s carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere, in line with NASA
Since arriving on Mars in February 2021, MOXIE has generated oxygen 16 occasions, producing a complete of 122 grams of oxygen, which NASA says is about what a small canine breathes in 10 hours. The house company mentioned at its peak, the machine produced 12 grams of oxygen an hour with 98% purity or higher. Its final use on Aug. 7 produced 9.8 grams of oxygen. In accordance with NASA, MOXIE met or exceeded all of its technical targets.
“We’re proud to have supported a breakthrough expertise like MOXIE that would flip native sources into helpful merchandise for future exploration missions,” Trudy Kortes, director of expertise demonstrations at NASA’s Area Expertise Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said in an agency statement. “By proving this expertise in real-world circumstances, we’ve come one step nearer to a future by which astronauts ‘dwell off the land’ on the Crimson Planet.”
This was the primary time oxygen had been produced by a spacecraft on Mars. NASA mentioned MOXIE produces oxygen through an electrochemical course of that separates one oxygen atom from every molecule of carbon dioxide pumped in from the Martian ambiance.
This expertise is predicted for use throughout future human missions to the Crimson Planet to be able to scale back the quantity of consumables astronauts should convey with them on a multi-year flight. Oxygen can be utilized for respiration, in addition to the oxidizer part of rocket propellent for an Earth return car.
“MOXIE has clearly served as inspiration to the ISRU neighborhood,” mentioned the instrument’s principal investigator, Michael Hecht of MIT. “It confirmed NASA is prepared to put money into these sorts of future applied sciences. And it has been a flagship that has influenced the thrilling trade of house sources.”
The Perseverance rover’s microphone captured this audio of the MOXIE machine engaged on Mars on Could 27, 2021. Credit score: NASA
Derek Richardson has a level in mass media, with an emphasis in modern journalism, from Washburn College in Topeka, Kansas. Whereas at Washburn, he was the managing editor of the coed run newspaper, the Washburn Overview. He additionally has a web site about human spaceflight referred to as Orbital Velocity. You will discover him on twitter @TheSpaceWriter.