Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan

News

U-M CLaSP students design space habitat concepts for Mars

Posted: August 1, 2018

U-M CLaSP students design space habitat concepts for Mars

Students Design Space Habitat Concepts for Mars

A space habitat design developed Climate & Space professor Nilton Renno and his students was among the four university team finalists published by NASA last week. The teams were selected to participate in the space agency's annual eXploration Systems and Habitation (X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge back in May, 2017. 

The U-M team, BLiSS (Bioastronautics and Life Support Systems) team, has spent the past year designing and building a mock-up of their design here in the Climate and Space Research Building. The team previously won a spot in the 2016 competition. Professor Renno, who is Principal Investigator for the X-Hab projects at the U-M, oversaw both projects. 

From the NASA website: 

"The X-Hab Challenge enables the agency to solve key problems using new ideas and emerging concepts, while engaging the next generation of talented engineers. X-Hab teams develop functional prototypes during the academic year, complete engineering design reviews, provide status briefings to NASA, and then present their projects for evaluation.

"One challenge of deep space exploration is establishing consistency among living spaces for astronauts. A human mission to Mars mission could last up to three years, including a 250-day journey, 500 days on the surface, and 250 days to return. Astronauts traveling to the Red Planet could spend months in microgravity (near weightless), while the Mars surface will have approximately a third of Earth’s gravity. The crew’s transition to life on Mars could be much safer and faster if their surface habitat is similar to the one in which they traveled."

"University of Michigan – Argo

"At the University of Michigan, the Bioastronautics and Life Support Systems team developed the Argo concept, a dual-purpose habitat architecture that can be used for deep space transit as well as the Martian surface. The Argo concept intends to solve the challenge of conflicting design requirements between partial gravity and microgravity through the implementation of artificial gravity, which will ensure that the crew will experience consistent physical conditions. The team developed virtual reality models for surface and transit habitat configurations, and physical mockups of an example node, a partial torus (a rotating system that generates gravitational force), and an airlock were developed for a concept demonstration."

Read the full NASA article: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/students-design-space-habitat-concepts-for-mars

Way to go, Professor Renno and U-M BLiSS team!