Washington: National Aeronautics and Space Administration on Thursday announced that its Perseverance Mars rover has successfully converted some of the Red Planet's atmospheric air into thin breathable oxygen.
As per details, it is first time in history that the US rover converted Mars’ thin carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere into oxygen.
The space agency used a toaster-sized scientific equipment, attached to NASA’s Perseverance rover which sucked up 96% carbon-dioxide from the surroundings of Martian atmosphere and extracted 5 grams of oxygen. That's roughly 10 minutes of breathable oxygen for an astronaut.
The instrument works through electrolysis and uses extreme heat to separate oxygen atoms from molecules of carbon dioxide.
However, it has been discovered that Oxygen exists on Mars in negligible trace amounts.
On its official twitter handle, the space agency wrote, “Another huge first: converting CO2 into oxygen on Mars”.
It further added that working off the land with MOXIE instrument has shown it is possible.
Schlepping all that oxygen all the way to Mars would be complicated and costly which is why scientists are considering extracting oxygen on site.
“Future explorers will need to generate oxygen for rocket fuel and for breathing on the Red Planet,” concluded NASA.
Another huge first: converting CO2 into oxygen on Mars. Working off the land with what’s already here, my MOXIE instrument has shown it can be done!— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) April 21, 2021
Future explorers will need to generate oxygen for rocket fuel and for breathing on the Red Planet. https://t.co/9sjZT9KeOR
As per NASA, getting four astronauts off the Red Planet’s surface would take about 7 metric tons of rocket fuel, combined 25 metric tons of oxygen.
The task was carried out on April 20 and rhe rover was launched in July last year that landed on the surface of Mars in February 2021.Since then it sent photos and videos from there.
Perseverance, the biggest and most advanced rover was the ninth US spacecraft to successfully land on Mars.
The first oxygen conversion run came a day after US based agency accomplished the historic first controlled flight of robotic helicopter on another planet with a successful takeoff and landing on Martian surface.