20 Aug 2017

NASA will aim at creating Oxygen from Mars' atmosphere with its 2020 Rover

One of the major goals for the humans in this century is to put a human on the distant red planet, Mars. NASA engineers and scientists have already rolled up sleeves to make that happen and one major requirement for humans to survive on Mars is availability of Oxygen. Unfortunately Mars' atmosphere has ~ 0.14% Oxygen and most of it (~96%) is Carbon dioxide. NASA is now aiming to create plenty of Oxygen using Mars' atmosphere and that's one of the goals for its Mars 2020 Rover.

NASA's Acting Chief Administrator Mr. Robert Lightfoot, Jr. explained to Futurism that NASA is currently relying on the International Space Station (ISS) for a lot of its experiments in the space such as testing the life support systems. Moon is likely to be the next destination for all the experiments before humans target the Mars. He further informed that NASA's next lander, called Mars 2020 will have the necessary equipment to generate Oxygen using available resources.

The official page for Mars 2020 Rover lists this experiment as 'Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment' aka MOXIE. The system has been designed to collect CO2 from the Martian atmosphere and store it in compressed form. The system will then split it electrochemically into Carbon and Oxygen.

Oxygen-Mars-2020-Rover
Image Credit: NASA
The plan also includes sending some of the microbial life to mars like bacteria and algae. It'll use the Martian soil to produce Oxygen. If the experiment is successful, the benefits would be immense. Availability of Oxygen on Mars would mean that we'll be able to produce enough fuel on Mars to power our rockets back to the Earth. Also, it'd mean that humans can survive on Mars for longer periods.

Mars-2020-Rover-Oxygen
Image Credit: NASA​

Mars 2020 mission is very critical and we all hope for its success. We'd love to ask our readers how long do they think it will be before humans will set foot on Mars. Do let us know.

Source: Futurism
Mahesh13

Mahesh13

Branch Unspecified
18 Dec 2017
Isn't the planetary protection act prevents the contamination of Earth life on other planets?

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