NASA boasts that in just two years, it has produced enough oxygen for a small dog to breathe for 10 hours

At least the puppy will be able to live on Mars.

Drop the marslupa

Since 2021, NASA’s Perseverance rover has been roaming the desolate surface of Mars, collecting samples and scanning the area for signs of ancient microbial life.

Thanks to one of its onboard science instruments called MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In Situ Resource Utilization Experiment), it has produced some breathable oxygen from the planet’s thin atmosphere, a proof of concept that could lay the foundation for future colonization efforts. Red planet.

But the space agency still has some ways to go until this device can generate enough air for an entire colony. Since landing on the planet in 2021, Moxy has produced only 122 grams of oxygen. According to NASA’s blurb about the feat, that’s roughly the amount a small dog needs to breathe for ten hours. Woof!

Refueling spot

While this may seem disappointing, it is still an incredible scientific achievement considering that it was accomplished over a hundred million miles from Earth.

“Developing technologies that allow us to utilize resources on the Moon and Mars is critical to building a long-term lunar presence, creating a robust lunar economy, and allowing us to support an initial human exploration campaign to Mars,” said Pam Milroy, NASA’s deputy administrator. In false advertising.

MOXIE’s performance also greatly exceeded expectations, producing twice the number of grams of oxygen per hour that NASA had expected. They’ve been able to do this throughout the Martian year as well, though under widely varying conditions.

The instrument works by separating one oxygen atom from each carbon dioxide atom pulled from the Martian atmosphere through a complex electrochemical process.

This harvested oxygen could not only serve as breathing air for future astronauts, but could also be used to generate propellant for rockets, which could make future trips to the Red Planet more feasible because it could significantly reduce the amount of fuel we have to bring back. Along the ground.

Now, researchers are excited to follow up on the mission with MOXIE 2.0, which can harvest oxygen and then liquefy it for storage. However, it is still unclear when such an experiment could make its way to Mars.

“By proving this technology in real-world conditions, we are one step closer to a future in which astronauts live beyond Earth on the Red Planet,” said Trudy Curtis, technology demonstration manager for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. , in the statement.

More about Moxy: NASA gets amazing new results in generating oxygen on Mars

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