The Challenge | Make Sense Out of Mars

Develop a sensor to be used by humans on Mars.

A new opportunity for life on Mars

The detection of organic matter and moisture levels in several areas in Mars is done by designing a robot capable with Mars surface circumstances and gravity using Methane, moisture, light intensity and temperature sensors managed by arduino UNO board.

Methane Seekers

challenges faced: -

  • the agriculture on Mars are one of two biggest challenge facing astronauts in their view of conquering Mars and making it a suitable place to live in.
  • Detection of organic matter on Mars which solve mysterious questions about the possibility of ancient life on Mars or tracking the geologic processes.
  • Detection of water resources on Mars which is a great challenge facing astronauts what they aim to find evidence for life or agriculture possibility.


Mars and organic matter:-

  • Organic matter definition: is a form of molecules that consist Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen and Nitrogen.
  • Attempts to find organic matter on Mars: Curiosity rover is one of the fascinating attempts of NASA in finding Organic matter on Mars.
  • It found tough organic molecules in 3-billion-year-old sedimentary rocks near the surface.· Seasonal Methane Releases: - Scientists describe the discovery of seasonal variations in methane in the Martian atmosphere over the course of nearly three Mars years, which is almost six Earth years. This variation was detected by Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite. Water-rock chemistry might have generated the methane, but scientists cannot rule out the possibility of biological origins. Methane previously had been detected in Mars' atmosphere in large, unpredictable plumes. This new result shows that low levels of methane within Gale Crater repeatedly peak in warm, summer months and drop in the winter every year. (organic molecules could be created by non-biological processes which aren’t necessarily indicators of life) ·Robot Details: - … In order to increase NASA database about the Organic matter and the humidity levels in several areas in Mars, we designed a robot that is able to measure the methane gas which is a great indication of organic matter in any planet in addition to humidity. These measurements open the possibilities of ancient life on mars as well as irrigation. All the project and prototype description will be displayed below:
  • o Robot Design: - § The robot is designed to be able to simulate the motion of a robot on Mars and its mass need to move harmonically on Earth will be multiplied by 2.648 (due to variation in the gravitational field strength on Earth and Mars) § Temperature of the wheels of the robot is monitored by temperature sensor since the average temperature on Mars is -62.778 degree Celsius.
  • o Robot Components: -· Arduino UNO board:It is the main computer processing unit of the robot. · MQ-2 gas sensor:
    The MQ-2 smoke sensor is sensitive to smoke and to the following flammable gases: LPG, Butane, Propane, Methane, Alcohol, Hydrogen The resistance of the sensor is different depending on the type of the gas. The smoke sensor has a built-in potentiometer that allows you to adjust the sensor sensitivity according to how accurate you want to detect gas. · Temperature sensor: The type of sensor we used is LM35 temperature sensor which is a series of precision integrated-circuit temperature devices with an output voltage linearly-proportional to the Centigrade temperature. The low-output impedance, linear output, and precise inherent calibration of the LM35 device makes interfacing to readout or control circuitry especially easy. The device is used with single power supplies, or with plus and minus supplies. As the LM35 device draws only 60 µA from the supply, it has very low self-heating of less than 0.1°C in still air. The LM35 device is rated to operate over a −55°C to 150°C temperature range. · Bluetooth module: to control the movement of the prototype only.· Soil moisture sensor: Calculate the humidity of the soil according to variation of its resistance which cause a variation on the voltage which the Arduino read as an analog signal. · LDR: An LDR is a component that has a (variable) resistance that changes with the light intensity that falls upon it. Consequently, the voltage of the circuit changes and this enables us use it in our robot for light intensity sensing because we can know the intensity of light on mars by reading the voltage of the circuit. · Monitor: Its function is to display the data received from the temperature and MQ-2 gas sensors. · Driller: As we will control the robot from earth using remote-controlling devices, we supplied it with a driller to take some samples from Mars’s ground when we give it order to do so. In addition, we will use this ability to measure the humidity of the ground because the robot will insert the electrodes of the humidity sensor in the position we ordered it to drill and measure the humidity of this area.
    • Results: -
    Test plan1: -
    • We finished our prototype and try to test it the two Arduino boards were obstructed cause the took more volts than need.
    Test plan2: -
    • We dissociated the whole prototype to use another two boards and we regulated the volts and start up with a Li-Ion batteries (12 v, 4800 mA.h) to regulate the board which is connected with the gear motors of the robot and (9 Volt, 1000mA.h) for the other one that is connected with the sensors.

SpaceApps is a NASA incubator innovation program.