This new solution could also be used to improve the current environmental pollution problem on Earth.
Scientists have found a way for future Mars miners to generate oxygen on the Red planet itself. Mars is very far away from Earth, so creating air to breathe in place will save you money and effort much more than bringing them to the spacecraft.
A research team has discovered a new oxygen reaction by studying comets.
The team of researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena discovered how comets create molecular oxygen, which are joined by two oxygen atoms to form air. It was previously thought that comet kinetic energy created this type of oxygen.
The team said molecular oxygen could also be produced through carbon dioxide (CO2). The team simulated this principle by exposing CO2 through leaf gold. Since gold cannot be oxidized, when CO2 collides with the gold surface at high speed, molecular oxygen will appear.
Scientists found that carbon dioxide molecules are extremely “bent” – irregularly shaped molecules – that make molecular oxygen.
Scientists say the reaction may also occur with a slower rate of collision of CO2 molecules. This explains why an amount of oxygen floats in the Martian atmosphere, which has a lot of CO2.
“In theory, just throwing a stone into the CO2 cloud will have oxygen generated, as long as the stone flies at the speed of a comet”, the expert said.
Previously, scientists thought that oxygen levels in Mars’s atmosphere were created after ultraviolet rays from the Sun hit the molecules of CO2 in the atmosphere of Red Planet.
NASA is also about to make oxygen generation technology run on Mars. An experimental technology called MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In situ resource utilization Experiment – Mars) will be available on the Mars amphibious vessel by 2020, expected to be released next summer and landing on Red planet in February 2021. MOXIE will separate CO2 in the atmosphere, and NASA wants to see if this method can be replicated on Mars.