Oxygen: The gasping reality behind the crisis

Today medical oxygen is used to treat various conditions such as respiratory arrest, cardiac arrest, shock, carbon monoxide poisoning, and severe haemorrhaging | Image - Immayabharathi K

In an irony of sorts, the day when NASA turned its MOXIE aboard MARS Perseverance lander to convert Martian atmospheric carbon dioxide into oxygen, in India, television screens were filled with appalling scenes of COVID patients scrambling for medical oxygen.

In the last few weeks, the spurt of cases has caused the medical oxygen supply grid to go haywire, putting the lives of many on the brink.


In the atmosphere, oxygen is mainly present as an oxygen molecule, containing two loosely interconnected atoms of oxygen secured by an electron bond. Due to this weak bond, the oxygen molecule is one of the highly reactive elements. It reacts readily with substance like iron to form rust, and this process of oxygenation helps in combustion.


Oxygen from Air is needed to be mixed with petrol or diesel in the car engine to combust. The glucose (C6H12O6) in our body uses a process akin to the ‘burning’, using......