Among the problems that the colonialists will faceMars, the primary task will be to provide the expedition with oxygen in the amount necessary for long-term human life. Despite the distant prospect of the appearance of the first Martian colonies, American engineers have already begun work on solving this problem.
Mars mission launched two weeks agoNASA is equipped not only with the new Perseverance rover, but also has on board many other devices needed to explore the Red Planet. One of them was a test experimental device called the Mars Oxygen In-situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE), which will automatically try to extract oxygen, which makes up only 0.2% of the atmosphere of Mars.
Oxygen delivery to Mars from Earth isa technically challenging task due to the large mass and huge volume of gas required for human life. Therefore, it was decided to extract oxygen from the atmosphere of the Red Planet.
The MOXIE robot is a test setwhich does not exceed the size of a car battery. According to NASA, MOXIE is a model of a real plant on a scale of one in a hundred and works on the principle of earthly trees - extracting oxygen from carbon dioxide.
MOXIE is specially designed forrarefied Martian atmosphere. The principle of operation is based on the absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide and its further electrochemical splitting into oxygen and carbon monoxide (carbon monoxide). Then atomic oxygen is combined into an oxygen molecule. The result is 99.6% oxygen that can be used for breathing.
Testing will take place without gas accumulation: all produced oxygen and carbon monoxide will be returned to the atmosphere of Mars. The plant's capacity is 10 grams of oxygen per hour, which is equivalent to 1.2 cubic feet of terrestrial air. The average person needs about 19 cubic feet of air per day. Throughout the Perseverance mission, the unit will periodically turn on once a day. MOXIE will start working some time after the rover landed on the planet, scheduled for February 18, 2021.