Scientists plan to manufacture oxygen on Mars

Date:15 December 2020 Author: Leila Stein

It seems that the mission to inhabit Mars is not slowing down. NASA are now on a mission to make oxygen possible on the red planet.

Recently, scientists from Washington University came up with a technique to complement the one NASA has already begun working on. 

NASA has placed a device called Mars Oxygen in Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE), onto the Perseverance Rover. This system converts CO2 to oxygen by sucking the gas out of the Martian atmosphere.

The scientists technique uses a different resource, salty water, which is thought to be found in lakes on Mars. This salty water can be split into hydrogen and oxygen using electrolysis. This could produce both oxygen and methane which could be used for rocket fuel.

“The presence of the brine is fortuitous because it lowers freezing point of the water. You take the salty, brackish water and electrolyze that. Our process takes the water and splits it into hydrogen and oxygen,” Vijay Ramani, professor at Washington University’s department of energy, environmental and chemical engineering told CNN.

However, this technique hinges on a big if. The presence of these saltwater lakes are not confirmed, and so the entire technique could be only hypothetical should no saltwater deposits be found.

Picture: NASA

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