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Tigra scientifica: Mission to Mars

Wikimedia // Contributor

This image shows our neighbouring planet Mars, as it was observed shortly before opposition in 2016 by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Some prominent features of the planet are clearly visible: the ancient and inactive shield volcano Syrtis Major; the bright and oval Hellas Planitia basin; the heavily eroded Arabia Terra in the centre of the image; the dark features of Sinus Sabaeous and Sinus Meridiani along the equator; and the small southern polar cap.

One of the most famous quotes in American history came from the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong, when he stated, “that’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” and with a recent successful mission on Mars, we are one step closer to a monumental new quote.
According to an August 2022 research article published in Science Advances by Hoffman and Hecht, NASA has successfully produced oxygen on Mars, preparing a way for its first human inhabitants.
The Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment, or MOXIE, utilizes an oxygen-producing machine roughly the size of a lunch box; this machine produces oxygen by first taking in oxygen from the Martian environment and purifying it.
Then, the now-pure air is pressurized and sent through a unique process that electrochemically separates the oxygen ions and carbon monoxide. The oxygen ions are then recombined into O2 and measured for quantity and purity.
From its landing on Mars in 2021 to the present, MOXIE has successfully produced oxygen seven times through day, night and all Martian seasons. This consistency proves MOXIE’s reliability, as Mars can reach a low of negative 220 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and a high of 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer.
With Earth’s natural resources depleting at a drastic rate, scientists have begun to worry about sustained human life on Earth. Scientists have undergone engineering new ideas to get humans to Mars in order to investigate further the planet and its atmosphere as a future home for humans.
The MOXIE mission has given us our first successful collection of oxygen made on Mars, getting us one step closer to launching the first human exploration mission to the unexplored planet.

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