〒180-0006 東京都武蔵野市中町2-3-5 IIHA武蔵野1階
Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Perseverance rover just made oxygen on Mars
Perseverance rover landed on Mars on February 18 this year and has been working on science missions including looking for habitability, seeking biosignatures, and catching samples. It has another mission that is essential for future space trips to Mars. Sending humans to Mars is just a part of the trip. Astronauts will spend some time on the red planet for whatever missions they are assigned. Then, they will need to fly back to the Earth, which takes at least seven months. During the over-a-year-long journey, humans need to breathe oxygen, which will eat up a lot of space to store and carry for the entire duration. Fortunately, there is plenty of CO2 on Mars, and Oxygen can be extracted from CO2 technically. That is one vital experiment Perseverance, or Percy, successfully conducted recently using the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment, better known as MOXIE, which is capable of producing up to 10 grams of oxygen per hour. Though the mass of MOXIE is only 17 kilograms, the conversion process requires a very high temperature, reaching as high as 800 degrees. So, the materials used for the device and Perseverance must endure such high heat on the red but cold planet. There really are a lot of things that need to be engineered flawlessly for a space trip.
Enjoy reading the article and learn about another step to realize human missions to Mars.