(FILE) A man stands next to the picture of the Zhurong rover on the planet Mars during the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, China. EFE/EPA/ALEX PLAVEVSKI

China’s AI robot synthesizes catalysts for oxygen production on Mars

Beijing, Nov 14 (EFE).- Chinese scientists have successfully utilized an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered robot to automatically synthesize optimal catalysts for oxygen production on Mars.

The robot utilized five different Martian meteorites to synthesize and optimize catalysts intended for the oxygen evolution reactions on Mars, according to an article published by the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC).

Recent evidence of water on Mars has raised the prospect of large-scale oxygen production from water molecules through solar power-driven electrochemical water oxidation processes, employing oxygen evolution reaction catalysts.

Researchers at USTC revealed that the AI robot employs a machine-learning model to identify the ideal catalyst formula from over 3.76 million possible compositions, derived from different Martian ores.

The robotic chemist, drawing from 50,000 chemistry articles, has completed the complex optimization of catalysts in less than two months, a task that would take around 2,000 years for a human chemist to achieve.

Experiments conducted at minus 37 degrees Celsius, mirroring the temperature on Mars, demonstrated that the catalyst can consistently produce oxygen without apparent degradation on the Martian surface.

The study affirms that the AI chemist can create new catalysts, promising advancements in oxygen production, base construction, and food production on extraterrestrial planets, while also enabling the synthesis of more chemicals from local resources on Mars.

“In the future, humans can establish oxygen factory on Mars with the assistance of AI chemist,” said Jiang Jun, the leading researcher of the project.

He said that only 15 hours of solar irradiation was enough to produce sufficient oxygen concentration required for human survival.

“This breakthrough technology brings us one step closer to achieving our dream of living on Mars,” the professor added.

On Monday, Chinese scientists unveiled an artificial atmospheric model of Mars, called “GoMars.” This model will be used in China’s upcoming Mars exploration missions, scheduled for around 2028.

In recent years, Beijing has heavily invested in its space program, achieving successes such as the Chang’e 4 lunar probe, which successfully landed on the far side of the Moon in January 2019. EFE