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:
The various missions to Mars have given us a wealth of data to understand the conditions on the planet including its atmosphere. How can we take advantage of the lower gravity on Mars to assist with the manned exploration of the planet, specifically, traversing the surface. Some form of mobility solution is needed that is portable enough for a person to carry on Mars but also provides a means to jump either vertical or horizontal distances, or even to fly.
Jet packs are one solution but there are other options, e.g. an exo-skeleton suit that allows jumping, or a para glider that allows a person to fly down from a cliff. The key to this challenge is mobility of the explorer but also of the equipment itself – a person needs to easily carry it and deploy it, so it should be possible to assemble and wear it by the user without assistance.
Producing propellant in-situ on Mars has been the focus of many studies. Research the various options and decide which is the best suited for your application. Note that you can consider all fuel/power sources so solar power is also an option.
The app could be designed as a game allowing the user to build a mobility solution from various options and then use/fly it. Alternatively, an app that incorporates gravity, density, atmosphere conditions and any other options for your current location on Mars could enable virtual prototyping.
A feasibility study could try to cover all of the elements for generating the fuel or power source for the mobility solution and/or the design of the equipment including how it would be assembled and used.
It is recommended that the hardware demonstrator is a small scale solution to allow a 30cm (12 inch) model figure to travel under remote (or autonomous) control. Please remember to scale the weight of the ‘user’ appropriately for Mars.
Targets for the jet pack or other mobility solution; travel horizontally (0.5-6 miles) in one action; travel vertically (0.5-6 miles) in one action; flight duration (30 minutes) or usable lifetime between recharging/refueling (1 day). These are guidelines, only,intended to give you a goal to aim for, or hopefully exceed!