An engineering experiment on the Mars rover Perseverance, dubbed MOXIE, has now successfully produced oxygen from the carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere, and has done so seven different times. After filtering an air sample…
…the air is then pressurized, and sent through the Solid OXide Electrolyzer (SOXE), an instrument developed and built by OxEon Energy, that electrochemically splits the carbon dioxide-rich air into oxygen ions and carbon monoxide. The oxygen ions are then isolated and recombined to form breathable, molecular oxygen, or O2, which MOXIE then measures for quantity and purity before releasing it harmlessly back into the air, along with carbon monoxide and other atmospheric gases.
Since the rover’s landing in February 2021, MOXIE engineers have started up the instrument seven times throughout the Martian year, each time taking a few hours to warm up, then another hour to make oxygen before powering back down. Each run was scheduled for a different time of day or night, and in different seasons, to see whether MOXIE could accommodate shifts in the planet’s atmospheric conditions.
During each run, the instrument produced about six grams of oxygen per hour, though a recent run produced more than 10 grams per hour, about half what a human needs to survive.
MOXIE runs only for short times, because it uses so much power the rover can’t do other work during runs. It is also only a technology test, so its operation is given a lower priority. Nonetheless, it appears that this test has successfully demonstrated that future astronauts on Mars will have a system for producing an unlimited supply of breathable oxygen. The next step would be to scale this up to produce enough oxygen to also fuel the astronaut’s return rocket.
Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!
From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space
, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.
does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.
“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.
All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.
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