A device fitted to NASA’s Perseverance Rover has successfully produced enough oxygen on Mars to sustain an astronaut for a few hours in a world first.
The rover landed on the planet two years ago; since landing, the fitted device has been using the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide, which it burns in order to generate small amounts of oxygen.
The oxygen-generating machine, named MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment).
This marks the sixteenth time the device has been able to produce oxygen while onboard NASA’s Perseverance rover.
“MOXIE’s impressive performance shows that it is feasible to extract oxygen from Mars’ atmosphere – oxygen that could help supply breathable air or rocket propellant to future astronauts,” said Pam Melroy, NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy.
“Developing technologies that let us use resources on the Moon and Mars is critical to build a long-term lunar presence, create a robust lunar economy, and allow us to support an initial human exploration campaign to Mars.”