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NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover has made oxygen 7 times in exploration milestone

After landing on the surface of Mars, NASA’s Perseverance rover took its first breath. Or rather, one of its instruments did.

Led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) is a small instrument on the Perseverance rover that’s designed to transform carbon dioxide, which comprises some 96% of the atmosphere on Mars, into breathable oxygen. Oxygen, of course, is crucial for a human mission to Mars. Since February 2021, the device has run seven times, each time producing about 0.2 ounces (6 grams) of oxygen per hour. That’s on par with the abilities of small trees here on Earth.

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