MOXIE is a kind of small mechanical tree built into the Perseverance rover. Its name stands for Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment and is used to produce oxygen in the atmosphere of Mars. It is the size of a car battery and its job is to inhale carbon dioxide and then exhale oxygen.
It is hoped that a large-scale version of MOXIE could operate on Mars in the future, ahead of a human mission, to produce oxygen at a rate equivalent to several hundred trees. This, in turn, would generate enough oxygen to support visiting astronauts and power a rocket back to Earth.
“This is the first demonstration of the actual use of resources on the surface of another planetary body and their chemical transformation into something that would be useful for a human mission,” said MOXIE Deputy Principal Investigator Jeffrey Hoffman. “It is historic in this sense”.
Now it will be necessary to test it in all possible atmospheric conditions, especially in the more complex one such as the transition between day and night, where the temperature range is more intense.