A persistent US robot instrument, which has been on the surface of Mars since February, has converted carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into oxygen, which is vital to the survival of astronauts on the planet and their return to Earth.
The experiment, described in a statement by NASA, which operates the robot, was conducted on April 20, two months after the persistence landed on Mars, after a seven-month journey through space.
The test, the first of several, was performed with a robot tool, MOXIE, the size of a toaster, one day after a flying device took off, followed by the robot and looking like a small helicopter. And landed on Mars, Toast history for the first time with a controlled flight on another planet.
Mars is an inhospitable planet whose thin atmosphere is mostly composed of carbon dioxide.
According to NASA, devices like MOXIE could one day help provide porous air for astronauts who remain on the planet and propellant for rockets blasting off its surface. The tool separates the oxygen atoms from the carbon dioxide molecules, which consist of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms. One of the waste products, carbon monoxide, is being released into the Martian atmosphere. The process of converting carbon dioxide to oxygen requires an extremely high temperature. If the generated oxygen is combined with hydrogen, then there is water, Which is equally essential to the survival of astronauts on Mars.
During the first test, MOXIE produced just over five grams of oxygen, Equivalent to about 10 minutes of breathing oxygen for an astronaut. The device, made of heat-tolerant materials, is designed to generate up to 10 grams of oxygen per hour.
On Mars, four astronauts will need a ton of oxygen to breathe for a year on the planet’s surface, according to MOXIE principal investigator Michael Hecht of the MIT Haystack Observatory in the US.
Transporting them on a missile to Earth requires seven tons of fuel and 25 tons of oxygen (The missile must contain more oxygen than the weight of the charge to burn its fuel). Transporting 25 tons of oxygen from Earth to Mars would be a daunting task. Transporting a one-ton oxygen transducer – a much larger and more powerful descendant of MOXIE that could produce like this 25 tons – would be much more economical and practical, ” says a NASA statement, which expects that a persistent robot tool will extract oxygen from at least nine times in about Two years, under different weather conditions and temperatures.
Since February 18 on Mars soil, and more specifically in Jizero Crater, where there was a lake 3.5 billion years ago, NASA’s new robotic rover will search for signs of microbial life across Mars and characterize its geology and climate, paving the way for human exploration. For the planet, which is an ambition for the United States after returning to the moon, and aims by 2024. It is the first robot to extract and store samples of rocks and dust from the surface of Mars, which will be sent to study more in detail about the Earth in 2031 in another mission, which will have a partnership European Space Agency.