On 30th July 2020, NASA launched Perseverance, the most advanced Mars rover of all time to seek the sign of ancient life on the Red planet and to collect the soil sample on its possible return to earth. Perseverance is carrying seven instruments to conduct unique scientific tests on Mars.
The observations made by this mission will be a key for the Scientists around the world drawing plan to colonize Mars. Many organizations are spending a huge amount of money to make human exploration possible on Mars. One of the major problems in making this happen is the different atmosphere on both planets. The amount of oxygen in the mars atmosphere is 0.17%, MOXIE (The Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment) is one of the instruments being carried by Perseverance with an aim to produce Oxygen from Martian Carbon Dioxide.
What is MOXIE?
The Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment is a car battery sized 1 % scale model aboard the Perseverance rover, with a job to produce oxygen from the Martian carbon dioxide. This 17 kg instrument located on the frontal right side of the rover will be able to produce 10 to 22 grams of oxygen per hour for propellant and for breathing.
Some key facts about MOXIE
- MOXIE weights approximately 6.4 kg on Mars (compared to 17.1 kg on earth).
- This instrument is designed to produce oxygen with 99.6 % purity from carbon dioxide which makes 95.32 % of the Mars atmosphere.
- The instrument will work on a process called solid oxide electrolysis.
- The net reaction becomes, 2 CO2 ——> 2CO + O2
- NASA officials stated that if this prototype worked efficiently, they could land a 100 time larger MOXIE based instrument on Mars.
- The liquid oxygen made by MOXIE could supply more than 75% of the propellant humans need for exploration.
Also Read: Habitable Exoplanets