The Challenge | Make Sense Out of Mars

Develop a sensor to be used by humans on Mars.

Red Life One

The proposed solution’s ideia is to adapt a space suit that already exists, aiming at a possible colonization.

Blue Giant

"Make Sense on Mars," this was the challenge chosen by the Blue Giant team, with the goal of developing a sensor to be used by humans on Mars. From this challenge, the proposed solution’s ideia is to adapt a space suit that already exists, aiming at a possible colonization.

Nowadays, space suits are already supplied with several sensors and systems that support the astronaut’s life, but the environment of Mars, not yet visited by humans, presents numerous adversities. The very low and quick atmospheric pressure would kill anyone who was not adequately protected, the absence of a magnetic field, the thin atmosphere made up of 95% of carbon dioxide, the toxic dust that covers the surface of the planet, the constant variations of temperature and the lack of liquid water are also factors that make the establishment of life on this planet difficult.

Although the air is rarefied, the strong winds and a high rate of dust in suspension make it easier to create storms of great magnitude. These storms change according to seasons, where:

  • During northern spring and summer, great storms are rare;
  • In the northern fall and winter they are more incidents, because the wind speed increases;
  • Regional dust storms can develop and fuse until eventually cover the entire planet.

In order for the astronaut to have time to protect himself from a potential storm, it is important to think of the creation of a dust storm warning system used by a clusters to identify its presence within a large radius of kilometers.

The team's innovation for the already existing space suit is to implant a graphene fabric that will mainly improve the reception of the signals by the sensors and prevent the dust of Mars from entering the suit.

Graphene can have 1001 utilities, equal or more revolutionary than plastic and silicon. Composed of an extremely thin layer of graphite. It has a hexagonal structure which single atoms are distributed, generating a thin layer of carbon.

Among the main advantages of graphene are:

  • Good electrical conductivity;
  • Light;
  • Flexible, malleable;
  • Low cost ($ 93,19);
  • Super resistant;
  • Abundant in the environment;

Its semipermeable characteristic makes it difficult to make the suit because allows the passage of gases. The theory proposed by NASA of carbon nanotubes, boron and hydrogen will fill the spaces between the tubes.

Some sensors and components used in these suits are:

  • Data processing center;
  • Heart rate sensor;
  • Blood sample collector;
  • Disposal of blood and needle (it’s possible);
  • Body and ambient temperature sensor;
  • Atmospheric pressure sensor;
  • Brightness sensor.

The blood sample will make it possible to analyze the level of oxygen, radiation and glucose.

The configuration of the current costumes includes the following layers:Nylon and elastane: three layers surround the pipes and disperse the heat generated during the activities;

  • Rubber and polyester: two layers hold the oxygen inside the suit and keep the pressure regulated;
  • Ripstop: Tear resistant liner protects the other tissues and body of the astronaut;
  • Polyester Film: Seven insulation layers regulate internal temperature;
  • Orthofabric: Mix of waterproof, fireproof and even bulletproof fabrics - to contain the impact of space particles.

SpaceApps is a NASA incubator innovation program.