In 2035, humankind with all its nations have agreed to settle the solar system, to do so they have chosen the best scientists and engineers fitted for the mission to embark them on the journey to Mars, Their mission is to carry out the research that is needed and upon the outcomes decide whether a Martian colony is realizable or not.
The habitat will be constructed using two missions to Mars. The first mission will use one SpaceX Starship to deliver autonomous robots, 3D printers, and power plants that will prepare the habitat’s location. A second Starship will deliver the central core of the habitat to Mars, after which it will be permanently placed on the prepared site. The 3D printers will then begin building the regolith shell around the central core while leaving space for future deployable attachments. The second mission will use two more Starships that land on Mars at the same time. Those spacecraft bring more power generation systems, three expandable habitats, scientific equipment, assembly robots, human transfer vehicles, crew supplies, and a crew of six people.
Our project has a total of 3 types of modules. The role of each type is as follows.
- Module type 1: Main greenhouse habitat
- Module type 2: Deployable habitats & suitports dock
- Module type 3: Deployable docking points for rover or connecting points to expand module T1s in the future
Module T1 will be built uncrewed during Mission 1. This module consists of a total of two floors, with a green house -the core space of this mission- and multi-purpose space on the first floor, and the crew’s quarters on the second floor. This module has six hatch doors, of which three are connected to Module T2 and the other 3 to Module T3 to perform additional functions. Module T2 is built as the first task of a crewed mission during Mission 2. This module is connected to Module T1 to receive life support such as power and oxygen. It can be used as an additional space for several academic studies. In this mission, 3 roles were assigned to Medical & Science Lab, Geology Lab, and Repair shop. The other side, connected to Module T1, will be used as suitport docks and will be used as entrances. Module T3, like Module T2, will be built during Mission 2. The basic operation method is the same as that of Module T2. It will be used as a docking point with the rover. If the mission is later expanded and Module T1 is additionally installed, it will be used as a connecting point for expandability.
The Greenhouse is the main focus of the habitation. A space of 108-140 m^2, 70 m^3 was allocated to the greenhouse to provide the oxygen and water needed to survive for the six crew members. (as shown below)
|Crew member||Per day|
|Total heat output (dry and wet)||12000 kJ (≈ 2800 calories)|
|Water vapor output||1.85 kg|
|Sweat runoff rate||0.08 kg|
|O2 consumption||0.82 kg|
|CO2 output||1.04 kg|
It involves the area 10% allocated for the seedling station and 90% is utilized for the germination to harvest the crop for crew members. Crops selected for the project are Tomato, Spinach, Lettuce, Cabbage, Radish, and Carrot. They have already been tested for the crew members by NASA as pilot crop testing. To add the additional protein contents- Spirulina bioreactor is added to the Habitat, which will help in efficient utilization of the waste from harvest (like pruning or non edible parts) and from the human faeces.
The new concept for the crop fertilizer is using Plasma activated water, that can be used for faster plant growth, act as a sterilizer for contamination and used for the seed storage.
Plants will provide psychological benefits from the fresh oxygen and natural smell from the plants. For exercise purposes there is a track that is used for running or exercise purposes next to the green and cheerful environment which is important for mental well being.
- Module: Expandable structure
The greenhouse habitat is covered with printed material of combined loose Martian regolith and polylactic acid. The robots will choose the site where the habitat will be and complete the 3D printing of the radiation shielding. As the layers of printed regolith pile up and dry, they form a solid structure. It will leave gaps around the ports where expandable units will be attached. When the humans arrive, they will deploy metal alloy frames for structure over the deplorable areas. The regolith and PLA are then printed on top of this alloy creating more radiation shielding.
- Shell: Since the Martian regolith is resistant to radiation, many studies have shown that using regolith as part of the exterior of habitats can create a strong protective barrier. Martian soil is composed of iron, silicon, aluminum, calcium, and sulfur. The company AI Spacefactory is collaborating with Techmer PM to combine basalt extracted from Martian soil with polylactic acid (PLA) to 3D print structures. The idea is to process plants that are grown on Mars to create the PLA so spools of PLA will need to be brought from Earth on the first cargo mission.
- Wall: Inflatable materials
Inside of the Inflatables, extendable aluminum frames are used because of the lightweight application it provides. The wall that separates the internal from the outside environment consists of an External Thermal blanket made of the material Mylar, four Nextel cloth with foam rubber layers and four bulletproof kevlar fabric layers in alternating order are used to protect the wall from micrometeorite impacts. One kevlar woven layer is used to represent the restraint layer. The Redundant three Bladders with airtight polymer alternating between three layers of Kevlar are used to prevent outgassing of the atmosphere. The inside of the wall consists of an Internal Scuff Barrier made from fireproof Nomex cloth.
- Wall: Greenhouse
The Greenhouse wall consists of a sandwich structure which not only serves as a loading structure, but also makes use of newest material discoveries and possible use cases. The thickness of the wall is estimated to be 20cm. The sandwich consists of an outer fiberglass reinforced polymer coated with 2DPA-1, the carbon reinforced polymer with impregnated lithium iron phosphate-coated aluminum foil and an electrolyte matrix mate of fiberglass fabric is also used for storing energy inside of the wall. A layer of rubber is used to isolate the electric traces from the other layers to prevent electric shorts. In the inside another fiberglass reinforced polymer coated with 2DPA-1 is used with predefined electrical outlets where the devices can be plugged in.
The greenhouse will use a nutrient delivery system that features plasma activated water and reactive oxygen and nitrogen solutions. It leverages the aeroponics technique done by EDEN and uses fluid-cooled LEDs that light the trays the plants are growing in. The deployment of the greenhouse trays and stacking pattern from Dartmouth University
- Energy Generation and Storage
The energy generation system is composed of Mini Nuclear Reactors from NASA’s Kilopower project.The heat from the decaying fissionable materials are driving a stirling engine. To dissipate the heat, an radiator in the form of an umbrella is used. The main energy storage system is composed of highly efficient flywheels which use magnetic bearings to negate frictional losses and a vacuum to minimize air drag. This is a better option than using lithium ion batteries because of its longer lifetime.
All of the equipment will be delivered to the Martian surface using a similar method to how Sky Crane delivered NASA’s Curiosity and Perseverance rovers. Sky Crane will lift the machines, habitat, and power system out of Starship using chemical rocket engines, and gently place them on the surface.