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2030 Mars Spacesuit, Boots, Navigation - There is a mountain three times taller than Mt. Everest, on Mars - Olympus Mons. I designed three pieces of gear in a two week timeframe for the expedition: a suit, a pair of boots, and a navigation aid. Mars is a very tough place to mount an ascent; there's no air, no atmosphere, no water, 200° temperature drops, low gravity, constant and severe solar radiation events
Design Opportunities - After a quick storyboarding session I came up with these 9 problems (among thousands) to focus my brainstorming on.
Current Spacesuit Facts - Current suits rely on an air bladder that presses against the skin to roughly simulate Earth's gravity and is where a majority of the suit's problems come from. It leaks. It's heavy. Its hard to put on. Also, every pound of pressure you put into the suit is a pound you have to work against to move - there is a lot of movement on most any expedition.
Warmth and Insulation Concept 1 - This concept uses electromagnetic pulses to pull iron-rich Martian soil onto the suit to insulate and protect against radiation in emergencies (it's better than carrying armor).
Warmth and Insulation Concept 2 - Two carbon dioxide filled bubbles, one inside the other, insulate the athlete and a small amount of dirt provides a stable platform to walk on and insulation from the -80 degree surface of Mars
Warmth and Insulation Concept 3 - Backpack Unit uses a parabolic mirror to direct sunlight and heat water to act as a radiant heating element for the body
Breathability and Condensation Concept 1 - Heat-Activated Vents expel excess heat and moisture to preserve a stable temperature and conserve energy
Breathability and Condensation Concept 2 - Strategically placed fabric acts like a heat sink and extends fibers to shed heat when needed like a porcupine does
Algae Air Supply and Filtering Pack - Algae uses available sources of CO2 from the athlete and the Martian Atmosphere to filter water and wastes and to produce oxygen and a small amount of heat
Atmospheric Compensation Compression - Carbon-wrapped wires tighten using mechanical device and compress the skin while also providing a conduit for electrical heat
Round I Spacesuit Concept - The First Round Concept combining earlier ideas
Mars Boot Concept Ideation
Boot Technology 1 - Because of Mar’s Low Gravity athletes will have an elongated stride and lower effectiveness in each stride. To counteract this the midsole unit is made of a low pressure air bladder that splays out to cushion and also give more surface to push off of. The internal air that is displaced from heel to toe to heel is captured as energy using two micro turbines.
Round 1 Boot
Boot detail view
Navigation Scout 1 - Navigation on Mars is unlike earth where we've not only mapped everything with GPS, but someone has been most everywhere. Nobody has been there and everything is new and potentially dangerous. Every step in off route takes up energy that needs to be synthesized. So, I modeled a system off what ant colonies do to find the best route to food: they lay down a scent trail back to the colony once they find food so each ant leaving the colony simply follows the strongest scent to food.
Navigation Scout 2 - These robotic "scouts" advise the best route by wirelessly talking to eachother
Navigation Scout 3 - The Scout uses a 3D scanner and Zigbee wireless sensors to communicate with eachother and map Mars.
Navigation Scout 4 - The Scouts use three independent motors to move a rubber track to be able to "leap" in low gravity and make it over large obstacles.
The scouts define a path and point out dangerous points and topographic features. This allows the Mountaineers to make informed decisions to keep them out of harm's way.
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Mars Expedition
Ahern Laurinat
Footwear Designer Boston, MA