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NASA’s rover extracts oxygen from Mars atmosphere

MOXIE being installed in Perseverance. Photo: NASA/ JPL-Caltech

Paris, 22 April 2021. – Another breakthrough: NASA’s Mars rover Perseverance was able to extract oxygen from the Red Planet’s thin, carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere, the U.S. space agency said.

A toaster-size, experimental instrument aboard Perseverance called the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) accomplished the task, NASA said. The test took place April 20, the 60th Martian day, or sol, since the mission landed Feb. 18.

“While the technology demonstration is just getting started, it could pave the way for science fiction to become science fact – isolating and storing oxygen on Mars to help power rockets that could lift astronauts off the planet’s surface”, NASA said. “Such devices also might one day provide breathable air for astronauts themselves.”

MOXIE is an exploration technology investigation – as is the Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA) weather station – and is sponsored by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) and Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

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