The details about Moxie, a vehicle on the Perseverance spacecraft sent by NASA to the surface of Mars, which aims to produce oxygen on Mars, and how oxygen was first formed on Earth are in this article!

Oxygen and Moxie on Earth

  • How did the first oxygen form on Earth?
  • What happened to the Earth after the Great Oxidation Event?
  • What are the factors involved in the formation of oxygen?
  • What is Moxie?
  • How will we breathe on Mars?


Scientists generally agree that the Earth did not have oxygen gas in the atmosphere or oceans at the beginning. But even then, there are some signs that there was a little oxygen around. For example, geochemists have found mineral deposits from around 3 billion years ago that they think could only have formed in the presence of oxygen. Some evidence suggests that cyanobacteria, the earliest photosynthetic organisms to release oxygen gas as a waste product, may have appeared 3.5 billion years ago.

An event believed to have occurred around 2.4 billion years ago, called the Great Oxidation Event, resulted in a massive environmental change on Earth.

During this event, the oxygen level rose up to 2% over a period of a few hundred million years, a short period in Earth's history. Considering the creatures living an oxygen-free life at that time, this caused the extinction of many creatures, while at the same time causing species diversity, and oxygenated respiration, which is a more efficient form of breathing, accelerated evolutionary developments and has come to the present day.

We know that cyanobacteria play an active role in oxygen formation and are still active today.

How Will We Breathe on Mars?

Looking for an answer to the question of how we will breathe on Mars, scientists have developed a device called Moxie that can produce oxygen on the surface of Mars. In its simplest terms, Moxie aims to produce oxygen from carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere. This device, which is the size of a car battery and weighs about 17 kilograms, is located on the Perseverance surface vehicle. Currently, it takes in carbon dioxide and gives out oxygen just like a tree. But unlike plants, it does this through an electrolysis method. Although Moxie can only produce 10 grams of oxygen molecules per hour for now, in the future, Moxies that are 100 times larger than today will perhaps be able to allow human beings to breathe on the surface of Mars.

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