The March 2020 mission which successfully took off from Cape Canaveral (Florida) on Thursday focused attention for the new Perseverance rover, which carries the SuperCam camera designed in Toulouse, and whose project will be to collect samples on the Red Planet. rich in view of their desire on Earth by 2031.
But the mission will also make it possible to carry out another capital experiment in the perspective of sending a man to Mars: how to produce oxygen on site.
To do this, scientists have an instrument called Moxie (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment). “Moxie will show how future explorers could produce oxygen from the Martian atmosphere as a propellant and for breathing,” says NASA. Developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, the device, which weighs 17.1 kg and is small (2.9 x 23.9 x 30.9 cm ) will make oxygen from the carbon dioxide that makes up 96% of the Martian atmosphere. Moxie collects CO2, then electrochemically divides into O2 and CO. Moxie will take advantage of the nuclear battery that powers the Perseverance rover when it is idle. The device should provide approximately 10 grams of oxygen per hour.
A city on Mars in 2117
The success of this experiment is essential to allow considering the presence of humans on Mars.
An objective that is getting closer since NASA wants to send a first human to Mars in 2033.
The American space agency has been working on the habitat of the first settlers since 2015 and launched a competition last year.
But the United States is not the only one to imagine a Martian base.
The United Arab Emirates, small Thumb of the space industry which has just launched its first mission to Mars (Hope), wants to be the first power to build a habitable city there within 100 years. This project, March 2117, was presented three years ago. The Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktou, believed that this mini-city was to plant a “seed” for future generations.