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
SEP 20, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Develop Novel Technique to Locate Baby Planets
SEP 20, 2022
Astronomers Develop Novel Technique to Locate Baby Planets
In a recent study published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, an international team of researchers have created a no ...
SEP 27, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Four-legged Robots May Explore the Moon
SEP 27, 2022
Four-legged Robots May Explore the Moon
The Legged Exploration of the Aristarchus Plateau (LEAP) mission is a concept study funded by the European Space Agency ...
OCT 11, 2022
Space & Astronomy
NASA's Juno Spacecraft Obtains Images of Jupiter's Moon Europa
OCT 11, 2022
NASA's Juno Spacecraft Obtains Images of Jupiter's Moon Europa
NASA’s Juno spacecraft was designed to study the interior and origins of Jupiter, and has been in orbit around Jup ...
NOV 09, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Building Artemis Base Camp with Lunar Regolith "Bricks"
NOV 09, 2022
Building Artemis Base Camp with Lunar Regolith "Bricks"
In a recent study published in Ceramics International, a team of researchers from the University of Central Florida (UCF ...
NOV 06, 2022
Space & Astronomy
New Evidence Suggests Ancient Northern Ocean on Red Planet
NOV 06, 2022
New Evidence Suggests Ancient Northern Ocean on Red Planet
In a recent study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, a pair of researchers examined topographic ...
NOV 24, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Ancient Mars Global Ocean Was Possibly Close to One Thousand Feet Deep
NOV 24, 2022
Ancient Mars Global Ocean Was Possibly Close to One Thousand Feet Deep
In a recent study published in Science Advances, an international team of researchers led by the Paris Globe Institute o ...
Loading Comments...