The Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment is better known as MOXIE. NASA is preparing for human exploration of Mars, and MOXIE will demonstrate a way that future explorers might produce oxygen from the Martian atmosphere for propellant and for breathing.
This image shows the Mars 2020 instrument: MOXIE.
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Tech Specs

  • MAIN JOB:To produce oxygen from the Martian carbon-dioxide atmosphere
  • POWER:300 watts
  • VOLUME:9.4 x 9.4 x 12.2 inches
    (23.9 x 23.9 x 30.9 centimeters)
  • OXYGEN PRODUCTION RATE:About 10 grams per hour
    (About 0.022 pounds per hour)
  • TIME:To produce oxygen from the carbon-dioxide (CO2) gas of the Martian atmosphere:About 2 hours

    Operating Temp: 1472 degrees Fahrenheit
    (800 degrees Celsius)

image of Michael Hecht
Michael Hecht
Principal Investigator
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts

"When we send humans to Mars, we will want them to return safely, and to do that they need a rocket to lift off the planet. Liquid oxygen propellant is something we could make there and not have to bring with us. One idea would be to bring an empty oxygen tank and fill it up on Mars."

-- Michael Hecht

Did You Know?

Oxygen produced on Mars could help support the breathing air supply for human explorers.

Five Things To Know
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MOXIE makes
oxygen on Mars
Carbon dioxide makes up ~96% of the gas in Mars' atmosphere. Oxygen is only 0.13%, compared to 21% in Earth's

MOXIE is a test model
MOXIE is the size of a car battery. Future oxygen generators that support human missions on Mars must be about 100 times larger.
MOXIE helps
To launch off of Mars, human explorers need about 33 to 50 tons (30 to 45 metric tons) of fuel, about the weight of a Space Shuttle.
MOXIE breathes like a tree
MOXIE makes oxygen like a tree does. It inhales carbon dioxide and exhales oxygen.
Homemade on Mars
Homemade liquid oxygen on Mars could supply more than 3/4 of the propellant humans need for exploration on the Red Planet.

MOXIE: The Story Behind the Name

MOXIE is a short, snappy name for a tool that helps lead to human footprints on Mars.  It helps humans explore Mars by making OXygen.  It works  "In situ" (in place) on the Red Planet, and is an Experiment."

The Story Behind the Name: Oxygen produced with MOXIE

The word moxie means bold and adventurous, hardy and spirited!  No one is sure, but the word may trace back to Native American place names for "dark water."  In the late 1800s, people drank "Moxie," a tonic and later a soft drink.  Because the drink claimed health benefits, people began using moxie to mean vitality and endurance. It surely endures in American vocabulary today!  You can still drink Moxie in some old-time, nostalgic soda-pop shops today.