The Red Planet has been quite trending lately, and it's not slowing down anytime soon, because NASA and its Mars rover just did another amazing thing.
CNet reports that the NASA Perseverance Mars rover was able to create breathable air on the surface of the planet, all by pulling a tiny bit of oxygen out of the atmosphere which is comprised of 96% carbon dioxide.
The rover was able to do this using a toaster-sized machine called MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment), which was able to achieve the feat by literally peeling off oxygen atoms from CO2 molecules, allowing it to "create" the breathable air.
This amazing scientific achievement comes only a day after NASA successfully flew a helicopter, named Ingenuity, above the surface of Mars.
Cutting-Edge Technology at Play
Accomplishing a feat never before seen in human history, the NASA Mars rover used cutting-edge technology in taking one of the earliest steps towards a planned colonization of the Red Planet.
With MOXIE, the NASA rover heated the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to around 1,470 degrees Fahrenheit. This allowed it to separate what little oxygen atoms it could from the CO2 molecules, while churning carbon monoxide as a byproduct of the process, according to Engadget.
About five grams of oxygen was produced, which is enough to give one person 10 minutes' worth of breathable air. But if MOXIE was put to work at its full capacity, it can produce around 10 grams of oxygen an hour, as stated on the official NASA website.
A Step Closer to Colonization?
Colonizing the Red Planet has been a hot topic for many years now, and the creation of breathable air on its surface is sure to make people even more excited about the possibilities.
Several of the world's biggest technology advocates, such as SpaceX founder Elon Musk, are great proponents of Mars colonization. And it's not just multi-billionaires like Musk, too. Architecture studio ABIBOO has been cooking up plans for Nuwa, the first city on Mars, which they believe will be ready by the year 2100.
But with the success of the MOXIE experiment, are we actually inching closer and closer to sending people there? Going back to Musk and Nuwa, he says that construction of the city will happen far sooner than expected: within the 2020s, as he said in a tweet. The only hurdle for SpaceX now is the time it will take for the company to clear its starships for space flight.
What's Next for NASA And MOXIE?
Future plans for the MOXIE experiment and the Mars rover's mission involve further testing of the machine's capabilities, writes NASA. Now that the first phase is completed, it will now move on to the second where MOXIE will be run in different atmospheric conditions, like different times of day or seasons. And for the third phase, MOXIE will be pushed even more by making it try new operating modes. It will also be expected to extract oxygen at least an additional nine times over the next two years.
This article is owned by Tech Times
Written by RJ Pierce