NASA’s Oxygen-Generating Experiment MOXIE Completes Mars Mission – NASA Mars Exploration


Driving with the Perseverance rover, the instrument has proved to be a viable expertise for astronauts on Mars to provide oxygen for gas and respiratory.


When the primary astronauts land on Mars, they might have the descendants of a microwave-oven-size machine to thank for the air they breathe and the rocket propellant that will get them dwelling. That machine, known as MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Useful resource Utilization Experiment), has generated oxygen for the sixteenth and closing time aboard NASA’s Perseverance rover. After the instrument proved way more profitable than its creators on the Massachusetts Institute of Expertise (MIT) anticipated, its operations are concluding.

“MOXIE’s spectacular efficiency reveals that it’s possible to extract oxygen from Mars’ ambiance – oxygen that might assist provide breathable air or rocket propellant to future astronauts,” mentioned NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy. “Growing applied sciences that allow us use sources on the Moon and Mars is essential to construct a long-term lunar presence, create a strong lunar financial system, and permit us to assist an preliminary human exploration marketing campaign to Mars.”

Since Perseverance landed on Mars in 2021, MOXIE has generated a complete of 122 grams of oxygen – about what a small canine breathes in 10 hours. At its best, MOXIE was in a position to produce 12 grams of oxygen an hour – twice as a lot as NASA’s unique targets for the instrument – at 98% purity or higher. On its sixteenth run, on Aug. 7, the instrument made 9.8 grams of oxygen. MOXIE efficiently accomplished all of its technical necessities and was operated at a wide range of situations all through a full Mars 12 months, permitting the instrument’s builders to be taught a fantastic deal in regards to the expertise.

“We’re proud to have supported a breakthrough expertise like MOXIE that might flip native sources into helpful merchandise for future exploration missions,” mentioned Trudy Kortes, director of expertise demonstrations, House Expertise Mission Directorate (STMD) at NASA Headquarters in Washington, which funds the MOXIE demonstration. “By proving this expertise in real-world situations, we’ve come one step nearer to a future wherein astronauts ‘stay off the land’ on the Crimson Planet.”

MOXIE produces molecular oxygen via an electrochemical course of that separates one oxygen atom from every molecule of carbon dioxide pumped in from Mars’ skinny ambiance. As these gases circulate via the system, they’re analyzed to verify the purity and amount of the oxygen produced.

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First of Its Sort

Whereas a lot of Perseverance’s experiments are addressing the mission’s major science targets, MOXIE was centered on future human exploration. MOXIE served because the first-ever demonstration of expertise that people might use to outlive on, and go away, the Crimson Planet. An oxygen-producing system might assist future missions in numerous methods, however an important of them could be as a supply of rocket propellant, which might be required in industrial portions to launch rockets with astronauts for his or her return journey dwelling.

Slightly than bringing giant portions of oxygen with them to Mars, future astronauts might stay off the land, utilizing supplies they discover on the planet’s floor to outlive. This idea – known as in-situ useful resource utilization, or ISRU – has developed right into a rising space of analysis.

“MOXIE has clearly served as inspiration to the ISRU neighborhood,” mentioned the instrument’s principal investigator, Michael Hecht of MIT. “It confirmed NASA is keen to spend money on these sorts of future applied sciences. And it has been a flagship that has influenced the thrilling trade of house sources.”

Future Focus

The following step wouldn’t be constructing MOXIE 2.0 – though Hecht and his crew have realized rather a lot about how one can design a extra environment friendly model of the instrument. Slightly, it could be to create a full-scale system that features an oxygen generator like MOXIE and a solution to liquefy and retailer that oxygen.

However greater than something, Hecht wish to see different applied sciences get their activate Mars. “We have now to make choices about which issues must be validated on Mars,” Hecht mentioned. “I believe there are lots of applied sciences on that listing; I’m more than happy MOXIE was first.”

Extra Concerning the Mission

A key goal for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, together with the seek for indicators of historical microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and previous local weather, pave the way in which for human exploration of the Crimson Planet, and be the primary mission to gather and cache Martian rock and regolith (damaged rock and dirt).

Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA (European House Company), would ship spacecraft to Mars to gather these sealed samples from the floor and return them to Earth for in-depth evaluation.

The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is a part of NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration method, which incorporates Artemis missions to the Moon that may assist put together for human exploration of the Crimson Planet.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is managed for the company by Caltech in Pasadena, California, constructed and manages operations of the Perseverance rover.

JPL manages the MOXIE mission for the Expertise Demonstration Missions program inside STMD. MOXIE was additionally supported by NASA’s Exploration Techniques Growth Mission Directorate and the Science Mission Directorate.

For extra about Perseverance:

mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/

Information Media Contacts

Andrew Good

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

818-393-2433

andrew.c.good@jpl.nasa.gov

Karen Fox / Alana Johnson

NASA Headquarters, Washington

301-286-6284 / 202-358-1501

karen.c.fox@nasa.gov / alana.r.johnson@nasa.gov

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