In first, Perseverance Mars rover makes oxygen on another planet
The technology demonstration took place on April 20, and it's hoped future versions of the experimental instrument that was used could pave the way for future human exploration.
Not only can the process produce oxygen for future astronauts to breathe, but it could make hauling vast amounts of oxygen over from Earth to use as rocket propellant for the return journey unnecessary.
Dubbed a "mechanical tree," it uses electricity and chemistry to split carbon dioxide molecules, which are made up of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms.
It also produces carbon monoxide as a byproduct.
MOXIE's engineers will now run more tests and try to step up its output. It is designed to be able to generate up to 10 grams of oxygen per hour.
Designed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MOXIE was built with heat-resistant materials like nickel alloy and designed to tolerate the searing temperatures of 1,470 degrees Fahrenheit (800 Celsius) required for it to run.
A thin gold coating ensures it doesn't radiate its heat and harm the rover.
Perseverance landed on the Red Planet on February 18 on a mission to search for signs for microbial life.
Its mini helicopter Ingenuity made history this week by achieving the first powered flight on another planet.