Questions for “The Perseverance rover split CO2 on Mars to make breathable air”

a person in a clean suit maneuvers a gold-colored cube

The MOXIE instrument, shown here being lowered into the Mars Perseverance rover while still on Earth, is a small “electrical tree” that converts carbon dioxide into oxygen on Mars.


To accompany “The Perseverance rover split CO2 on Mars to make breathable air


Before Reading:

1.  NASA is planning on sending humans to Mars. What things must the space agency bring to the Red Planet or make there in order to support a colony of astronauts?

2.  What is carbon dioxide? List three facts about this gas.

During Reading:

1.  What is the MOXIE instrument and what is its job?

2.  In what way is MOXIE like “an electrical tree,” according to Michael Hecht?

3.  Where is most of the oxygen on Mars found?

4.  How did MOXIE get to Mars and when did it arrive?

5.  How successful was the first MOXIE test on Mars? What powered it? At full production, how much of its product can MOXIE make?

6.  MOXIE is a small device. What is the primary goal of a full-scale version? For instance, what do NASA scientists see as the most important need for its product gas?

After Reading:

1.  Do some research on traveling to the Red Planet. Science News for Students has a lot of background information on NASA’s planned missions for human exploration of Mars. Based on what you learn, list the pros and cons of being part of such a mission. If given a chance, would you rather take part as part of the ground crew or part of the space crew? Explain your decision.

Lillian Steenblik Hwang is the associate digital editor for Science News for Explores. She has a bachelor's degree in biology (and a minor in chemistry) from Georgia State University and a master's degree in in science journalism from Boston University.