What is the problem? Future astronauts will need oxygen to breathe and live, but oxygen is also an essential component of rocket fuel. A single rocket launch off the surface of Mars carrying four astronauts could require about 25 metric tons of oxygen. The Martian atmosphere contains 95-96% carbon dioxide, so there is an abundant potential source for this oxygen – we just need the right technology to generate it. MOXIE is far from being able to meet these needs, but it will lay the groundwork for larger conversion instruments.
And after? There will be at least nine more tests over the next two years. The first set of tests that MOXIE is running is supposed to validate that the device really works. The second phase will perform the process in different types of atmospheric conditions and in different Martian times and seasons. And the third will try to push MOXIE to its limits.
Perseverance, meanwhile, continues to do an exciting job. the Ingenuity helicopter made its second flight on Thursday and is expected to fly at least three more times. The rover will then head outside to begin its search for extraterrestrial life and search for potential samples to store delivery back to Earth one day.