Does Mars have oxygen to breathe?

Does Mars have oxygen to breathe? Yes, there is oxygen on Mars, but not nearly enough to walk out onto the planet’s surface and breathe. More information is provided by NASA engineer Asad Aboobaker.

The oxygen density on Mars is around one-tenth that of Earth. The atmosphere of Mars, on the other hand, includes a considerable amount of carbon dioxide – around 500 times more CO2 than oxygen.

If we want to collect oxygen for future explorers or launch systems on Mars, we could be better off extracting some of it from CO2 and utilising it insteadThis is when Courage enters the picture.

Courage is a gadget aboard NASA’s Perseverance rover that has shown for the first time that we can extract oxygen from the carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere.

Because it is a technological demonstration, it emits very little oxygen. We will need to send a scaled-up version, maybe 200 times larger than the current MOXIE, for future human exploration.

If such a device landed on Mars, a portion of it would provide oxygen for the people to breathe, but the vast bulk would be used as rocket propellant to take the humans off the surface of Mars and back to Earth. Does Mars have oxygen to breathe? We don’t have much, but that’s okay since we can make it ourselves.

Related: How will NASA return samples from Mars?

Bottom line: Mars’ weather is mostly made up of carbon dioxide. It is also 100 times thinner than Earth’s atmosphere, so even if it had a comparable composition to our air, people would be unable to exist in it. If we ever send astronauts to Mars, they will need to bring their own oxygen.

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