Turning Martian Air into Oxygen

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Turning Martian Air into Oxygen
By Jerry Brownstein
A small device being tested on the current Mars Rover mission, has successfully created oxygen out of the Red Planet’s carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere. It’s called “Moxie”, and it could be the first step toward finding a practical source of the oxygen that would be needed to sustain a human presence on Mars. Transporting oxygen in large cylinders is not feasible given the limited cargo area of a spacecraft. Moxie presents a possible solution, if it can be significantly scaled-up from its small test size. Larger versions are planned which would be connected directly to living areas, with each unit producing as much oxygen as 100 trees. Along with providing breathable air for future settlements, the oxygen could also be used to create rocket fuel for return journeys to Earth. “This is the first demonstration of using the resources on the surface of another planetary body, and transforming them into something that would be useful for a human mission,” said Moxie researcher Jeffrey Hoffman. “It makes the idea of people living on Mars a much more realistic possibility.”


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