When NASA’s new rover leaves for Mars in 2020, it’s possible humans won’t be far behind it.
Most people still find that idea difficult to grasp, but NASA takes it seriously enough that its next rover will experiment with creating breathable oxygen on the Red Planet.
Here’s a great infographic from Space.com about all the new features on-board the as-yet-unnmaned rover. Take particular note of “MOXIE”:
So there’s the usual array of cams and sensors and drills, and a new set of wheels, as Curiosity’s are showing worrying signs of wear and tear.
And then there’s MOXIE – the Mars Oygen In-situ Resource Utilization Experiment.
According to Space, it’s a prrof-of-concept device “pointing the way for future astronauts’ life-support systems on Mars”.
“The Mars Oxygen In-situ resource utilization Experiment (MOXIE) will ingest the toxic Martian air and produce breathable oxygen from the carbon dioxide it contains.”
Most “concepts” – think electric cars and wearables – never see the light of day, but NASA’s extremely unlikely to use incredibly limited, and expensive, space on-board its next rover for pie-in-the-sky ideas.
That, for those who think a better life awaits them on another planet, is exciting news.
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