MAR 29, 2020 5:39 AM PDT

NASA is Sending This Golden Box to Mars to Make Oxygen

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

NASA’s Perseverance rover, formerly known as just the Mars 2020 rover, will do quite a bit more than merely drive around on Mars snapping photographs and drilling into the planet’s surface. It will also carry a unique experiment to the red planet dubbed the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment, or MOXIE for short.

MOXIE is a golden box that will be safely tucked away inside the rover’s chassis, and it will attempt to convert minute amounts of Mars’ atmospheric carbon dioxide into pure, breathable oxygen. It will work by taking advantage of solid oxide electrolysis to rip an oxygen atom away from existing carbon dioxide molecules, resulting in carbon monoxide, oxygen, and other byproducts.

Mars’ atmosphere is approximately 95% carbon dioxide, so there’s plenty of gas available to be converted into oxygen. Unfortunately, MOXIE will only produce small amounts of oxygen – around six grams per hour – or just enough to keep a small dog alive. Additionally, MOXIE won’t be operational all the time, as Perseverance will need to conserve energy for other and more essential scientific operations.

If successful, MOXIE could prove once and for all that it’s possible to generate enough oxygen to support human life on Mars. This would be essential if we were ever to send astronauts to live on the red planet for long periods of time. That said, it will be interesting to see how MOXIE pans out and how its processes will impact future Martian science.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
APR 22, 2020
Earth & The Environment
5 Things You Didn't Know About Earth
APR 22, 2020
5 Things You Didn't Know About Earth
Happy Earth Day! All though we should take action every day to appreciate our home, planet Earth. Today it gets a little ...
MAY 18, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Top Secret Military X-37B Space Plane Heads Back to Outer Space
MAY 18, 2020
Top Secret Military X-37B Space Plane Heads Back to Outer Space
Not much is known about the United States’ Space Force’s top-secret X-37B military space plane apart from th ...
MAY 24, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Here's Why SpaceX is Using Heavy Stainless Steel to Make Starship
MAY 24, 2020
Here's Why SpaceX is Using Heavy Stainless Steel to Make Starship
SpaceX is perhaps best known for its reusable Falcon 9 rocket, the same variety that will be lofting astronauts into out ...
JUL 13, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Earth's Moon Had Magma Ocean for 200 Million Years
JUL 13, 2020
Earth's Moon Had Magma Ocean for 200 Million Years
The moon may have hosted an ocean of magma for 200 million years according to new findings- considerably longer than pre ...
JUL 18, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Closest Ever Images of the Sun Expose Previously Unknown Features
JUL 18, 2020
Closest Ever Images of the Sun Expose Previously Unknown Features
New images from the Solar Orbiter, a joint project between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) that launched in Feb ...
JUL 26, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Active Volcanoes Discovered on Venus
JUL 26, 2020
Active Volcanoes Discovered on Venus
New research has identified 37 volcanic structures on Venus that are thought to have been active recently.
Loading Comments...