“Hmmm hmmm hm hmmm,” Orak hummed a tune. He had a skip in his step as he entered the dorm room and greeted his friends. “Hey, Verum!” “Hi, Felix!” “Hello, Scorch!”
Verum smiled and said, “Orak, you look so happy. Is there any amazing science news you want to share with us?”
Orak nodded his head vigorously, “I bring news from planet Mars. It is also known as the red planet. Do you remember the small device MOXIE that was sent to Mars with rover Perseverance? By the end of 2021, MOXIE continuously produced 6 grams of oxygen per hour. It produced oxygen day and night. It also braved harsh weather conditions on Mars.”
“Do you know how much oxygen that is? It’s the same amount of oxygen produced by a single grown-up tree on Earth!” Orak said.
“It is truly the happiest news and a huge achievement,” Scorch said.
Orak added, “MOXIE stands for Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment. It is the size of a school lunch box.”
“I remember you telling us about how humans can’t breathe on Mars,” Scorch said.
Orak nodded, “Mars’ atmosphere is made of carbon dioxide. It is also thinner than Earth’s atmosphere. Humans can’t breathe in thin air. If astronauts were sent to the red planet, they would have to carry their own oxygen. It will also be required in rocket fuel to carry the astronauts back home.”
“This amount of oxygen would be very expensive to carry,” replied Verum, “Rockets also have a limited capacity.”
“Yes,” Orak replied, “Scientists needed a solution to make Mars’ air breathable. So, they sent an experimental device MOXIE onboard Perseverance to the red planet.”
“Can you tell us how MOXIE produces oxygen out of thin air?” said Felix.
Orak replied, “MOXIE makes oxygen just like a tree does. It takes in carbon dioxide and releases oxygen. It has the potential to produce oxygen worth over 100 trees.”
“This is an important milestone for future human space exploration projects,” Scorch noted.