Extrait du premier panorama de Mars photographié avec la Mastcam-Z de Perseverance. © Nasa, JPL-Caltech

Oxygen was produced on another planet for the first time!

To persevere, the last NASA spacecraft to land on Mars since last February, the successes are following each other. NASA just announced its first new: an on-board instrument that just produced oxygen using the elements available on site.

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If guys will someday Conquer MarsThen, they will need to learn how to produce Oxygen In the region. Using elements from this world’s environment. With this in mind what NASA engineers had imagined Experience using oxygen Mars resources on site. a demonstrator The size of a car battery, which it affectionately named Moxie, was transported to the Red Planet by the persevering probe.

And on this Tuesday, April 20, it is tested for the first time. Successfully. Moxie shifted the oxygen fraction (O) of the substrate fromMars atmosphere, a Ambiance Rich in carbon dioxide (CO2). Produce about five grams – just enough to allow an astronaut to breathe for 10 minutes.

« Moxie has yet to get it done, but the results of this presentation are promising as we move towards our goal of seeing humans someday on Mars. ”Jim Reuter, co-director of NASA’s Space Technology Missions, at A. Communicate. “Oxygen isn’t just what we breathe in. Our motivations Rockets Dependent on oxygen, and future explorers will depend on producing oxygen on Mars to return home. “

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Before continuing, let’s take a look at some of the numbers. NASA claims that the rocket needs 25 tons of oxygen to launch from the surface of Mars and seven tons of fuel to return to Earth. To produce that much oxygen, you’ll need a ton of Moxie. While one hangs to the right of the front Perseverance in the rover It weighs less than 20 kg. But it should be noted that in an entire year that a human colonist spends on Mars, they will only consume one ton of oxygen.

The oxygen production cycles have yet to come

To avoid having to transport a lot of oxygen from Earth to Mars, the engineers imagined a recovery Emissions from Carbon Monoxide (CO) – th Atoms Of the available oxygen in carbon monoxide2 Which accounts for 96% of the weak Martian atmosphere. Moxie was initially intended to demonstrate the potential for making such a tool move into Red planet. Then we move on to the experimental oxygen extraction stage for the next two years.

Note that a process Separation Atoms occur at temperatures around 800 degrees Celsius. So Moxie was designed accordingly. Of the parts in Alloy Nickel that heats and cools the gases that pass through it, a Airgel Which helps to retain heat and a thin layer of gold prevents it from radiating outward thus damaging other parts of perseverance.

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Now that the first test has been successfully completed, the production processes will continue as follows. The first stage will be used to verify instrument operation and characterization. The second stage will operate the device in different weather conditions, such as different times of the day and different seasons. In the third stage, the engineers calculate ” Maximum “ By trying new operating modes, for example.

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