Presentation #242.06 in the session Education Programs, Resources, and Research — iPoster Session.
Over the years, multiple organizations worldwide have worked to learn about Mars, many have wondered if we could establish a place on its surface where humans can survive for a long period of time. The purpose of this research was to design a Martian habitat that considers the most important factors for its sustainability. The investigation had three main goals: find the most efficient materials to compose the structure, define the most suitable power source to use, and implement a system able to produce purified oxygen (O2) for the astronauts. This will open new doors for the exploration of the red planet and the experience of living somewhere else than Earth. Factors such as Mars’ atmospheric conditions, surface properties, the structures sustainability, among others were considered in the investigation. Taking the safety of the crew members as a priority led to a rigorous elimination process, resulting in the best possible machinery and equipment for the modelled structure. The design itself was selected using a multimethod research approach, eliminating inauspicious considerations and analysis. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used as numerical measurements and in-depth exploration gave us the advantage of acquiring sufficient data to develop the investigation in a reasonable way. Each method allowed the obtainment of the best structure design, as well as: materials, power sources, and oxygen systems to use for the habitat which was designed in the shape of a geodesic dome connected by cylinder ducts; 3D printed materials were chosen to create both the floor and outer layer of such. For the energy source, solar energy showed to be the most optimum, as the protection of solar panels can be achieved through a self-dusting system. Lastly, using a combination of Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cell (SOEC), In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU), a Nitrogen/Oxygen Recharge System (NORS), and a carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) scrubber the implementation of a safe and efficient oxygen system can be attained. The number of variables considered during the development of the project was extensive and certainly influenced the time the analysis of data took to be completed. However, through the ideas developed, data gathered, communication with different specialists in the fields and the multimethod research approach used, most of the variables considered in the first place were sorted out as new questions were raised leading to future research development.