The last time I posted, in “Taking Flight on Mars,” it was a few days before Ingenuity’s first flight and we were all anxiously awaiting that achievement. Well, it happened, and now we’ve had two more flights — and more to come! Plus, there’s a firehose of information, including great images, all being made available for public appreciation as fast as the science teams can post them. Furthermore, the MOXIE instrument on Perseverance has sucked in some carbon dioxide from the Martian atmosphere and breathed out oxygen! In the coming days and weeks, the rover will continue its science experiments with studies of the chemical composition of the rocks in the region around its landing site.
Ingenuity seen hovering against a backdrop of the nearby delta. It rose above the surface of Wright Field at the Octavia Butler landing site on Mars. Credit: NASA
Making Oxygen on Mars
We all get the idea about the flight of the Ingenuity chopper — it’s a big step in extending surface exploration on Mars. But, what’s the deal with the MOXIE achievement? Let’s look at it this way: if you were a Mars explorer making your way across the Red Planet in a ...