MOXIE: NASA device produces the same oxygen on Mars as a tree on Earth

NASA’s Perseverance rover has brought great scientific advances to Mars exploration. Along with the robot, the space agency sent MOXIE, a small device that is part of the Mars In Situ Oxygen Resource Utilization Experiment. According to the journal Science Advances, MOXIE has been producing oxygen on our neighboring planet with the Martian air itself since then and its production is comparable to that of a tree on Earth. In late 2021, the team behind the device demonstrated that it was capable of producing 6 grams per hour over seven separate runs: during the day, at night, in different seasons, and other factors. Michael Hecht, principal investigator for the MOXIE mission at MIT’s Haystack Observatory, explained that the only thing they hadn’t tried was forming O2 during sunrise or sunset, “when the temperature changes substantially.” In a statement, the expert assured that they had a plan to produce oxygen at those times of the Martian day: “Once we test it in the laboratory, we can reach that last milestone to show that we can really produce at any time.” with MOXIE are important for future astronaut expeditions on Mars. SpaceX, Elon Musk’s private space company, is planning a manned mission to the red planet in 2020, for example. In addition, NASA’s Artemis lunar mission is also intended to ease the journey to Mars by the 2030s or 2040s. Jeffrey Hoffman, MOXIE deputy principal investigator and MIT professor, details that we humans will have to carry a lot of stuff to Mars for a human mission there, but oxygen need not be one of them. The researchers behind MOXIE believe that future versions of the device could produce oxygen at the rate of several hundred trees. This will be necessary, since the Martian atmosphere is made up of 96% carbon dioxide. Sign up for our newsletter and receive the latest technology news in your email.