NASA engineers have developed a system to extract oxygen from thin air-thin Martian air, that is. The device could provide breathable air and rocket-fuel oxidant for voyagers to the planet, where the atmosphere is primarily carbon dioxide. CO2 is fed into a zirconia disk that is heated to 750 C and sandwiched between platinum electrodes. The zirconia chemically breaks the CO2 into oxygen and carbon monoxide. The oxygen filters through the zirconia and is collected; the carbon monoxide cannot pass through the disk. NASA has demonstrated this “oxygen pump” under simulated Martian conditions at the Johnson Space Center, according to principal investigator David Kaplan. A real test will come when the device is included on the next Mars lander mission, scheduled for launch in April 2001. If it works, the system would help lower the mass and cost of future missions.
What to know about this autumn’s covid vaccines
New variants will pose a challenge, but early signs suggest the shots will still boost antibody responses.
DeepMind’s cofounder: Generative AI is just a phase. What’s next is interactive AI.
“This is a profound moment in the history of technology,” says Mustafa Suleyman.
Human-plus-AI solutions mitigate security threats
With the right human oversight, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence can help keep business and customer data secure
Next slide, please: A brief history of the corporate presentation
From million-dollar slide shows to Steve Jobs’s introduction of the iPhone, a bit of show business never hurt plain old business.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.