NASA, SpaceX and other organizations worldwide are actively planning for a future where humankind will live in colonies on Mars. Although we’re still a few years away from populating an alien planet, it certainly is a fascinating prospect together.
However, before we can begin our new lives on a giant red rock several light years away, one major hurdle is still standing in our way. Human beings, along with most life on Earth, require oxygen to survive, and Mars does not have as much as we need. However, a new experiment conducted by MIT researchers may be the solution we need to produce oxygen on Mars.
MOXIE Paves The Way For A Future On Mars
The MIT experiment is known as the ‘Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment, or ‘MOXIE.’ Since 2021, MOXIE has proven to create breathable oxygen by processing the carbon in Mars’ atmosphere. MIT partnered with NASA to put MOXIE on Mars along with the perseverance rover in 2020, and since then, the results have been remarkable.
In August of 2022, the team of researchers behind MOXIE published their findings in science advances. According to the report, MOXIE successfully produced oxygen on Mars in multiple experiments, simulating various alternating conditions, from times of day to weather patterns. OXIE produced about as much oxygen as the average tree in Earth’s natural ecosystem every time. Next, MIT aims to produce a larger, more efficient version of the MOXIE technology that can produce oxygen on mars, equivalent to a small forest on Earth.
What MOXIE May Accomplish In The Future
For years, experts have hypothesized that man could terraform Mars someday to support human life. Could MOXIE be the key to accomplishing that feat? As MOXIE continues to produce oxygen on Mars, it’s only a matter of time before we find out.