Mars rover Perseverance sets new record for making oxygen on Red Planet.

There's good news from Mars. Tucked inside NASA's Perseverance Mars rover is a device known as MOXIE, short for Mars Oxygen In Situ Resource Utilization Experiment. MOXIE is the first experiment to suck in the planet's thin, carbon dioxide-laden air and transform that native resource into oxygen. The toaster-sized device, if built to a larger scale, can be used not just for astronaut expeditions to Mars for breathing, but also for rocket fuel. 

Earlier this month, the experiment achieved a major milestone when researchers pushed MOXIE to a maximum production level — a factor of two higher than reached earlier.

The requirements for MOXIE were to produce 6 grams of oxygen an hour, a rate that was eventually doubled. "We rolled the dice a little bit. It was 'hold your breath and see what happens,'" Hecht said. 

Informally dubbed by Hecht and his team as "the last hurrah," MOXIE delivered the goods on its 15th run on Mars since first gulping up Martian atmosphere within Jezero Crater on April 20, 2021.

The challenge all along, Hecht added, has been to define ways to operate on Mars more efficiently by cranking out a higher yield of oxygen.

Source: www.space.com


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