By Aida El-Hajjar, age 11
On April 20, NASA used the experimental MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In-Situation Resource Utilization Experiment) instrument aboard the Perseverance robot for the first time. NASA’s MOXIE instrument demonstrated that oxygen can be created on Mars, making it more livable for humans.
Around 95% of Mars’ atmosphere is made up of carbon dioxide. Four astronauts would need 26 metric tons of oxygen to survive one year on Mars and then return their rocket to Earth, but it would be difficult to haul all the necessary oxygen from Earth. So far, the MOXIE instrument has already been able to create 5.4 grams of oxygen by converting carbon atoms on Mars, enough to keep an astronaut healthy for 10 minutes of regular activity, bringing the human race one step closer to becoming a multi-planetary species!