This is quite significant for the space exploration project. According to New Scientist, as reported by Slate, NASA has now announced that it has succeeded in creating enough oxygen on the planet Mars to enable an astronaut to breathe for one hundred minutes.
It was sent to Mars with the Perseverance rover in February of 2021. Moxie, short for “Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment,” absorbs carbon dioxide from Mars’s atmosphere, heats it at around 800 degrees Celsius, and then separates the oxygen molecules from the carbon dioxide. This meant that, out of every hour, he only created enough oxygen to sustain life for fifteen minutes.
The outcomes of this initiative were well received by the participating teams. The oxygen that is generated would be of the highest quality. “It’s a great success,” MIT professor Michael Hecht stated.
Therefore, NASA would want to create a comparable but bigger system to generate sufficient oxygen to sustain a crew over its whole stay and permit their return journey to Earth. But the task is difficult, since it would need sending bigger machinery to Mars and, most importantly, producing oxygen continuously for at least 400 days.