NASA to Test Making Oxygen on Mars
Dave Alcock / 3 years ago
NASA plans to make oxygen when they send a $1.9 billion rover to mars in 2020.
Space agency officials unveiled several instruments that they plan on sending to mars on Curiosity v2.0, the new mars rover. One of these instruments, called “Moxie” will be used to convert the Red Planet’s carbon dioxide atmosphere into oxygen. This can then be used by astronauts to breath and just as importantly make fuel for the return flight to Earth. Taking pre-made fuel to Mars would be too heavy and expensive so an alternative needs to be found, this is a big step towards this.
A scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology who is running the project has said that the device will make three-quarters of an ounce of oxygen an hour and will work like an engine but in reverse. If this device works, then a larger device 100 times bigger than Moxie will be launched two years before astronauts are expected to land on Mars, currently scheduled for 2030. The bigger device would be able to make enough oxygen for the return flight before they even left planet earth.
Curiosity v2.0 will be equipped with many other devices too, such as MASTCAM-Z, an upgraded version of the twin cameras that we have today. The improved versions will be able to zoom in on features enabling the rover to navigate easier and also take far better pictures.A separate camera dubbed “SuperCam” will be able to take close up images of rocks and also scan for any former life on the Red planet. We should see more updates from NASA soon with more detailed information on what the new rover will be able to do.
Thanks to NY Times for supplying us with this information.
Image courtesy of Haughton-Mars Project.