Daily Management Review

Scientists Are Going to Make Oxygen on Mars


03/11/2015


Scientists at MIT are working on a project installation, which will convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. NASA has already planned its use on Mars. This has been reported in the media of the 46th Conference on lunar and planetary sciences.



Installation called The Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment (MOXIE) will convert carbon dioxide into oxygen in two stages. The first will be an accumulation and compression of carbon dioxide. The second, it will be converted by electrolysis to carbon monoxide and atomic oxygen - molecular oxygen generator. The installation is being planned to send to the Red Planet in 2020, together with the new rover.

Last summer NASA announced that MOXIE, as well as six other scientific instruments, will be installed on the new rover.

Now the device is able to generate just 0.02 kilograms of oxygen per hour, and capable of operating for 51 days. The plans are to increase its efficiency up to 2 kg of oxygen per hour.

The Martian atmosphere is 96% composed of carbon dioxide. The oxygen content in it does not exceed 0.2%. For comparison, the Earth's atmosphere fraction of oxygen is 21%. It is expected that the plant will provide future missions to the Red Planet with fuel and oxygen.

In October last year, same researchers reported that the colonists of Mars allotted 68 days.
According to their calculations, the first colonist will die because of lack of air. As noted in the report, the reason for the lack of oxygen would be the lack of its production plants, which will be taken to Mars specifically for this purpose. The immigrants will not have an alternative source of oxygen because the technology of atmosphere balancing is still underdeveloped.

In addition to the lack of oxygen, researchers reported other problems to be faced. In particular, they will experience a shortage of spare parts and other necessities of life, which postage on Mars will be extremely high. The most optimistic estimates are that $ 4.5 billion will be needed to supply the colonizers with all necessary, and this number will only increase with new crews sending.

On Mars, the installation must save (approximately for one and a half years) enough oxygen, which will be used to fuel rockets needed to send astronauts to Mars to Earth.

According to Business Insider, astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman said that missile launch will take several tens of tons of oxygen. For example, sending 30 tons of oxygen to Mars will require 300-450 tons of fuel, and the launch of each ton will cost about $ 10 million. According to NASA  experts, mission managed to Mars will cost about 80-100 billion dollars.

MOXIE and other space exploration projects will be presented on March 16-20 at the Conference on lunar and planetary sciences at Texas.






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