In fact, on earth only about 21% is oxygen, the rest is mostly nitrogen (about 78%). However, it is still enough to ensure human life on this “blue planet”.
On Mars it is different, despite many similarities with Earth. However, the volume of Mars’ atmosphere is only 1% of Earth’s. That is, the amount of air on Mars is 99% less than on Earth. Most of the gas on Mars is carbon dioxide, carbon dioxide makes up 96%. There is almost no oxygen for humans to survive.
If you go to Mars and don’t have a protective suit specifically for space travel, you will quickly suffocate from lack of oxygen, and your blood will boil because of low atmospheric pressure, leading to d3ath.
Mars is a harsh environment
Not only is it poor in air, but Mars also has very little liquid water. The temperature is extremely low, at night down to more than -73 degrees Celsius. This harsh environment is probably the reason why after many years of research, scientists still have not found any clues about life on Mars. .
However, researchers believe the search has just begun. In environments as harsh as Antarctica, the ocean floor or miles below the surface of the earth, people still find a lot of living creatures. Life on Mars may have occurred billions of years ago, when the atmosphere was thicker, more oxygenated, temperatures were warmer, and when it had liquid water on its surface.
This is why NASA has always followed its enduring Mars exploration mission. The goal is to look for signs of life such as fossils of organisms that once lived.
Making oxygen on Mars
On board NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover are seven devices, one of which is MOXIE, which is capable of turning carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere into breathing oxygen.
MOXIE begins oxygen production by capturing carbon dioxide. Inside the device, Mars’ CO2 is compressed and filtered, removing toxins and pollutants. It is then heated, causing a split to oxygen and carbon monoxide, the oxygen is sequestered, the oxygen ions merge into O2 gas. And carbon monoxide will be released back into the atmosphere harmlessly.
Thanks to this device, astronauts will be able to create their own oxygen, and they can also use it as an ingredient in rocket fuel to fly back to Earth. If MOXIE is stable, it will be easier and easier to visit Mars in the future.
In essence, the MOXIE instrument itself cannot generate enough oxygen to support the full exploration of Mars. But MOXIE’s successors could turn out to be great tools for exploration. MOXIE has paved the way for human missions to Mars, based on it, NASA is working on new technologies to complete this mission. This idea could happen in the next decade, perhaps in the late 2030s