One day after, the team behind NASA’s Perseverance rover achieved another big first on Mars. The vagabonding science lab managed to pull a bit of oxygen out of the Martian atmosphere, which is about 96% carbon dioxide.
The rolling robot carries an experimental instrument about the size of a toaster called the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment, known as Moxie, and on Tuesday it succeeded in peeling the oxygen atoms off molecules of carbon dioxide to create oxygen.
“This is a critical first step at converting carbon dioxide to oxygen on Mars,” Jim Reuter, associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, said in a statement. “MOXIE has more work to do, but the results from this technology demonstration are full of promise as we move toward our goal of one-day seeing humans on Mars.”