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Mars 1

For the proposal, the use of NASA technology called “MOXIE” (Mars Oxygen In situ Experiment), a device that allows to produce oxygen in the same Martian atmosphere, is indicated.

A few months ago, NASA, exploring the surface of Mars, found methane in the air, gas on earth that is linked to the existence of life. While there is no total certainty of the existence of living beings on the red planet, there are studies that indicate how to generate oxygen on Mars. This was announced by Natalia Aguirre and Sebastián Olivares, graduates of the Civil Engineering of Mines of the Faculty of Engineering of the University of La Serena, who were awarded with "Green Mars" in a national competition organized by the Technical University Federico Santa María, the College of Engineers of Chile AG and the Chilean Association of Space AG (ACHIDE).

Mars2The professionals stood out with solutions for obtaining water, air, food and energy on the red planet. The project contemplated 3 proposals for obtaining oxygen. Natalia Aguirre explained that “through a greenhouse system, CO2 can enter the Martian atmosphere and then the O2 is extracted. You could also use the technology of NASA MOXIE, a device to generate oxygen by electrolysis of water ”.

Regarding food on Mars, Sebastián Olivares said that “for the feeding of the crew, the consumption of vegetables generated in the greenhouse is proposed. This is a fundamental piece of the proposal since oxygen and food depend on its functioning, and for this a soil suitable for plant life is needed, since the planet Mars is not suitable because it has perchlorates, but it can be solved by diluting "

For the place of settlement of the crew, Natalia Aguirre said that “it was decided to go to the North, near the Korolev crater that has a good source of water in the form of ice. In addition, it was suggested that the settlement be within craters in the twilight zone to protect from space radiation, and thus obtain water, from the ice of the Korolev Crater and a second way, is to generate it through the Sabatier reaction. ”

The Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Dr. Ing. Mauricio Godoy, said that “we are very proud of our former students and the presentation of this great project. We train professionals, but without a doubt, thanks to their great capacities and perseverance, they are proposing to the world today. I congratulate you and urge you to continue working and achieving your goals; and at the same time, indicate that as a Faculty we have open doors to support graduates who require it ”.

The awarding of the activity was held at the National Aeronautical and Space Museum, as part of the ceremony celebrating the 50 years of the arrival of man on the Moon.

NASA technology

The proposal also indicates the use of NASA technology called “MOXIE” (Mars Oxygen In situ Experiment), which is a device to produce oxygen in the same Martian atmosphere from the carbon dioxide that abounds (96%). With a power of 300 watts and a production rate of 10 grams per hour, the “MOXIE” collects CO2, compresses it and submits an electrochemical process to more than 800 degrees to produce oxygen by electrolysis.

Written by María José Barraza, Project FIULS 2030