American scientists are preparing for the first time to get oxygen on Mars
Pure oxygen can, for the first time to appear on Mars in 2021, if the MOXIE experiment, will meet the expectations of its creators, told RIA Novosti Deputy Director of the project Professor at mit, former NASA astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman.
Experiment MOXIE - a device the size of a car battery to produce oxygen from the atmosphere of the Fiery planet. The experiment will work on the Rover Perseverance, which is scheduled to kick off from Earth on July 30 and if everything goes well, in February, will arrive at Mars.
The United States is very keen on the idea of Mars exploration. Even the moon program which has been undertaken by the administration of Donald trump, is a step towards the development of the Fire planet. In the United States say they will in 2030 to realize the dream of sending humans to Mars, and although experts questioned the feasibility of such a goal, many believe that it is better to have it and strive for it, than not dream at all.
Now, in addition to a number of satellites on Mars, the American Rover, next year the company will make him Perseverance. It needs to land in the area of the crater Jezero (Jezero), where he will observe the environment of the planet, to do it the fences of the ground and even run in his home helicopter Ingenuity, which is the first to fly on Mars.
One of the scientific instruments the Rover is MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment) is designed to produce oxygen from carbon dioxide, which comprises the atmosphere of Mars. NASA hopes that this experiment will be useful for future manned missions to Mars.
"One of the goals of Rover Perseverance – the search for fossil evidence of past life on Mars, there will be experiments to study the Geology of Mars helicopter. The experiments are ultimately intended to pave the way for the exploration of Mars by man," explained the purpose of the mission MOXIE by one of its creators.
"When people go to Mars, unlike the Rover, which just stays there... on the completion of their work, they will want to return. This means that they need the rocket to return to an orbiting ship and then return to Earth," - said the Agency interlocutor.
According to experts, to return people from Mars has become a reality and heavy rocket to overcome the gravity of the planet will need at least 30 tons of pure liquid oxygen.
"Most people when they hear that we are going to produce oxygen on Mars, I think that it is for people to have something to breathe. But in reality we need about 1 kilogram of oxygen per day, so even if you stay on Mars for a long time, you will need only a few hundred kilograms of pure oxygen, but this is a paltry amount compared to the 30 tons that will be needed for missiles," - said the scientist.
To bring the necessary amount of cylinders of oxygen will not be easy, but to deliver on the surface of Mars several tens of tons of rocket fuel would be problematic, warns Professor Hoffman.
"Oxygen production on Mars, unlike the delivery of 30 tonnes of oxygen, will save billions of dollars. Flight to Mars and so, without a doubt, will be expensive, and all we can do to reduce the cost and make it more accessible, it is very important", - stressed the Agency interlocutor.
Tool MOXIE weighing about 17 pounds, is located at the right front of the Rover. The creators of the tool draw an analogy between your experiment and the tree, which inhales carbon dioxide and exhales oxygen, only IT does so not as a result of photosynthesis, and by physical impact of the shock on the atmosphere of Mars. With the help of electric current it will split the atoms of carbon dioxide, of which 96% is in the atmosphere of Mars, and isolate it from oxygen.
The creators of MOXIE emphasize that their experiment is not innovative. "This idea is not new, people are talking about how to do this for decades and repeatedly tested in terrestrial laboratories by simulating the conditions on Mars, but Mars can cook surprises that we do not assume now," says Hoffman.
He stressed the need to "demonstrate the technology in a real environment". "We have never produced oxygen on any other planet, and MOXIE will be the first attempt," stressed the importance of the experiment the scientist.
According to him, "the kid" MOXIE can produce only about 10 grams of oxygen per hour, but the important thing today is to demonstrate that the technology works on Mars.
Talking about the amount of pure oxygen, which is calculated thanks to MOXIE scientists, Hoffman notes that it is "a little".
"We will produce up to 10 grams of oxygen per hour. It's not much, but if you had a small dog on Mars, this is enough to she lived, but not enough for a human," the scientist said.
Since oxygen on Mars, yet no one breathes, after evaluating the quality of the resulting gas is again released into the planet's atmosphere.
The MOXIE experiment requires a large amount of electricity.
"Sometimes they (the leaders of the mission - ed.) will announce that one Martian day will be entirely dedicated to MOXIE and the Rover, this day will not move, and all the other experiments will be "sleep", - says Hoffman.
Under the terms of NASA, the experiment needs to produce oxygen is at least 10 times, its creators hope to double this figure.
The estimated period of operation is one Martian year is two earth years. But its creators hope that, as often happens with spacecraft, it will last much longer than stated in its documents.
"We did experiments at the jet propulsion laboratory (NASA) on Earth, and even after 60 inclusions MOXIE was still working... We hope to be able to produce oxygen at least 20 times, and if after 20 times it will still work, we would like to continue the experiment to see what would happen," the scientist said.
He admits that a real Martian conditions can present researchers with many surprises. "We do not know whether there will be on Mars, something that hurt working MOXIE," explained Hoffman.
Little experiment MOXIE is still only a demonstration of the technology, but the researchers hope that in the future will be able to create his "big" version.
"MOXIE produces only one two-hundredth of the volume of oxygen which is necessary for a manned mission to Mars, but that doesn't mean that you can just increase IT 200 times, it will just be ineffective," he says.
According to him, the specialists face the challenge of Martian address such problems as irregular pressure of the atmosphere, dust and many other issues that are not so essential to small tool MOXIE, working only intermittently, but must be taken into account when creating the device for producing oxygen according to the requirement.