Astronaut exploring on Mars, Illustration. Credit: Victor Habbick/Science Photo Library via Getty Images

Technology China12. December 2023

Breathing on Mars: More Possible Than We Thought!

Thanks to an AI chemist, a team of scientists from China has shown that it could produce oxygen on Mars with only materials found on the Red Planet.

“In the future, humans can establish [an] oxygen factory on Mars with the assistance of AI chemist,” states one of the three team leaders, Professor Jiang Jun, from the University of Science and Technology of China. “This breakthrough technology brings us one step closer to achieving our dream of living on Mars.”

Lasers were shot at Martian meteorites to analyze their composition. Once potential catalysts were discovered, Bayesian statistics were used to identify the best possible one. In short, the AI managed to determine which molecules could be used to create oxygen evolution reaction catalysts, helping to determine that the resulting catalyst could operate steadily for over 550,000 seconds – or almost six days and 9 hours – with an electric current density of 10 milliamps per cm2 and an overpotential of 445.1 millivolts. Even at below-freezing temperatures, there is no apparent degradation. A Mars base could achieve oxygen self-sufficiency with 15 hours of sunlight to turn the deposits of water found on Mars – not abundant but present – into oxygen.


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