science

NASA extracts oxygen on Mars for the first time

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NASA is currently having a lot of fun with its Mars rover Perseverance. Among other things, this brought the mini helicopter Ingenuity to the red planet. After some technical difficulties, the flying object actually rose briefly in the air on Monday. From a technical point of view, this was a breakthrough. Because for the first time a flight could actually be realized on another planet. Five more flights are now planned on Mars. From a scientific point of view, a golden box, which looks a little reminiscent of a car battery, is at least as important. In fact, the facility bears the name Moxie - which stands for "Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment". The idea behind it: The carbon dioxide from the atmosphere of Mars is to be used to extract oxygen from it.

Image: NASA / JPL-Caltech
For the first time, oxygen was extracted on a strange planet
Now, for the first time, it has actually been possible to split CO2 inside the golden box and thus gain oxygen. This was made possible by a combination of different electrical and chemical processes. In total, Moxie was able to gain around five grams of oxygen in this first test. This would be enough to supply an astronaut for around ten minutes. From a technical point of view, the device should be able to extract ten grams of oxygen within an hour. At least three of the systems would currently be required to supply a person on Mars. Despite this comparatively low yield, NASA is very satisfied with the outcome of the experiment. Because for the first time oxygen could actually be extracted on a strange planet.

Numerous states want to explore Mars more closely
The Mars rover Perseverance was in space for a total of 203 days before reaching the red planet. There he landed on a dry lake, the nature of which he will now investigate intensively over the next two years. Among other things, one should look for traces of earlier microbial life. In addition, NASA researchers hope to gain new insights into the planet's climate and geology. The US space agency invested a total of eight years of development time and $ 2.5 billion in the project. The United States, however, is not the only country that has recently focused its attention on Mars. Because also India , China and the United Arab Emirates recently sent probes to the planet. There are also numerous private projects. Among other things, multi-entrepreneur Elon Musk has announced that he will be building his own Martian colony . Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, in turn, wants to at least bring paying tourists there.