Mars is located in the Goldilocks Zone of the Solar System, which means that it meets some of the conditions for being a potential life harboring planet. Thanks to various scientific explorations, we also know that there’s liquid water on Mars and there were even entire rivers flooding the planet millions of years ago.
But there’s certainly not enough oxygen to breathe on Mars, and aliens could care a lot about that. There’s no scientific data for complex life existing in other forms as we know on Earth, so researchers can only suppose how alien life could behave and adapt judging by how organisms do such things on our planet. Scientists can’t theoretically assume that aliens need to inhale carbon dioxide instead of oxygen to survive, for instance, although extraterrestrial beings could look a lot different than anything we see on Earth.
MOXIE enters the scene
If there isn’t enough oxygen on Mars, why not create some? That’s precisely what NASA scientists have in mind, as they are preparing to deploy MOXIE (Mars Oxygen in Situ Resource Utilization Experiment), which is currently under the testing phase. The gadget will be converting the carbon dioxide that makes up 96% of the gas from the atmosphere of Mars into oxygen.
But the good news is not over yet, as scientists from the Washington University in St. Louis have another ace up their sleeve that can work as an alternative for MOXIE. Vijay Ramani, who is a professor at the department of energy, environmental and chemical engineering from Washington University, proposes a new technique.
Salty waters from Martian lakes represent the key
Ramani and his team are relying on the experimental technique of using salty waters from Mars as the main resource. The Red Planet has plenty of water in the form of ice, and Ramani reveals the process:
The presence of the brine is fortuitous because it lowers freezing point of the water. You take the salty, brackish water and electrolyze that. Our process takes the water and splits it into hydrogen and oxygen.
NASA and SpaceX are seriously considering the idea of landing humans on Mars in the near future, and we can only be mega excited for it.