Mars Hopper

People's Choice Winner

Mars Hopper won the people's choice award!


Have you ever wanted a rocket pack to soar amongst the sky? Now you can … on Mars… Gravity is less, atmospheric density is less, and the vistas are breathtaking. So come to Mars...

Buck Rogers aside, Mars is an interesting environment for out-of-this-world mobility options for an explorer. This challenge asks for the definition of a conceptual mobility solution to allow an astronaut to easily and rapidly explore Mars including overcoming obstacles such as cliffs, ravines and other difficult terrain. The solution should be person-portable and any means or source of propulsion be locally produced.

This challenge can be answered by:

  • producing an app to simulate your adventures in building your jet pack and flying around Mars;
  • produce an app that provides the local gravity, atmospheric conditions (density, weather, anything-else-of-interest) to help decide what is needed for your jet pack design;
  • perform a feasibility/conceptual study of an actual jet pack design that could use potential Mars fuel sources; or Design and Demonstrate a model scale jet pack using hardware.

MarsHopper is a plane for investigation of Mars poles and its surroundings. It uses CO2, that in solid form covers surface to create jet thrust. During landing, plane harvest CO2 for next flight and for its deceleration. On the surface plane accumulates radioisotope energy into CO2, by changing it phase from solid to supercritical fluid. Supercritical CO2 is used to create jet thrust for next jump and to create rotation of propellers to sustain flight, hence the name of plane “hopper”.

To demonstrate this idea we estimated a viability of the mission in terms of energy consumption and flight conditions. Our calculations showed that this project is possible with existing technologies. Also, to illustrate the idea we made computer modeling of flight process and made real life demonstration model of plane launched by jet force of CO2.

Who are behind the MarsHopper project?
Pavel Pravdiukov - Big Data Engineer, took part in physical calculations and as a team-lead. Loves astronomy and music.

Oleksandr Butkaliuk - Mechanical engineer, designer, private entrepreneur. Loves aerospace technologies, boatbuilding, sailing, glider flights.

Sofiia Butkaliuk - Lyceum student, idea generator. Loves space technologies, science fiction, space cartoons, steampunk.

Nikolay Denisenko - Producer, chemist, made computer simulation (Unity3D, C#), 3D model. Loves rocketry, photography and game development.

Viacheslav Osaulenko - PhD student at NTUU KPI. Made physical calculations for MarsHopper. Passionate about computational neuroscience and artificial intelligence.

Ilya Rubinsky - Programmer. Assisted in computer simulation development and presentation. Loves to play music and read books.

Andrii Muzychenko - Hardware engineer, computer science tutor. Loves green technologies, aerospace technologies and history.

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Made inKiev Ukraine
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