As per a new report, NASA intends to create oxygen on Mars using gold. The report said that the space agency is planning to transform carbon dioxide (CO2) into oxygen with a gear attached to one of its spacecraft that will take off to the Red Planet.
The agency stated that it would have a golden box that will be able to convert CO2 into oxygen, called the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment, or MOXIE. According to a previous report, NASA’s Perseverance rover will be launched to Mars by July of this year, programmed to collect a sample from the planet’s surface. The sample will be sent to Earth in 2031 and will be analyzed in order to collect more data on the Red Planet.
Creating Oxygen By Using Gold on Mars
The instrument attached to the probe, MOXIE, will make the sample collecting possible. This concept was formulated by Michael Hecht, the principal investigator of the tool.
“When we send humans to Mars, we will want them to return safely, and to do that, they need a rocket to lift off the planet. Liquid oxygen propellant is something we could make there and not have to bring with us. One idea would be to bring an empty oxygen tank and fill it up on Mars,” Hecht said in the report.
According to Webby Feed, MOXIE will be made of gold in order to ensure that the engagement with electronics onboard will be minimal. Moreover, the report also detailed that gold has an incredibly low emissivity, which means that it doesn’t generate heat efficiently, helping it survive the hot temperatures on Mars.
Jim Lewis, a MOXIE engineer, said that the instrument functions by propelling energy into the anode and cathode. Oxygen is then separated from CO2, enabling it to be extracted in order to be stored.
“It will assure the lack of impact with any nearby electronics boxes from the rover. Gold doesn’t radiate heat effectively, because it has very low emissivity,” Lewis explained.