MarsTronics Jet Pack

People's Choice Nominee

MarsTronics Jet Pack received a People's Choice Nomination.


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.


Using Unity, we incorporated elements such as Mars' gravity, density, and atmosphere conditions, that enabled us to test our project, allowing us to prototype it virtually. We concluded that all the elements of our project, facilitate the astronaut to travel longer distances (around 0.9 miles) in a shorter time (just a few minutes), going through a more difficult terrain. This helps the astronaut to enjoy a cozy Martian exploration.


The fourth planet from the Sun, Mars, is the optimal destination for new discoveries, as we expand our presence into the Solar System. It's past is commensurable to Earth's, which in a way, will help us understand and learn more about our own planet's history and future. Mars had conditions suitable for life in its past, and future exploration, especially with humans, could uncover evidence of life, answering one of the most important question of the cosmos; “Are we alone?” [1]

Mars has some harsh conditions for life to develop, and to exist. Mainly the atmospheric pressure, temperature, lack of oxygen, and water scarcity. Mars' atmospheric pressure is about 0.6% of Earth's sea level pressure, about 0.087 psi. Whereas Mount Everest, one of the highest points on earth, has an atmospheric pressure of 4.89 psi, meaning that Mount Everest has roughly 56 times the atmospheric pressure of the surface of Mars. Humans wouldn't survive very long in those sorts of conditions. [2]

We can neglect this effect by increasing the pressure that the astronaut must intake. There's actually no requirement for the suit itself to be pressurized, but just to apply some pressure on the skin of the astronaut to prevent vacuum bruising. This can be provided by either fluid pressure from the environment, or from mechanical pressure. Our spacesuit uses wire-reinforced elastic material, with a pressurized helmet that seals to the shoulders. The astronaut skin encounters no atmospheric pressure, and the spacesuit is porous, allowing sweat to escape, but also maintaining an even mechanical counter-pressure to about 3 pounds per square inch needed to avoid vacuum injury (one of our major concern).

One minor concern is fogging of the visor could occur, but with the spacesuit design that allows sweat to escape, this is reduced. There's also the possibility of the outer side of the visor exposed to the environment, could condense vapor and gather electrostatically charged dust (or even ice particles obscuring the astronaut vision), but that should be easy enough to wipe off on properly the properly treated faceplate (usually involving some antistatic coating on top of a filter coating to protect from harmful rays, being the gold filter the most widely used). [3]

Given the information gathered and provided by NASA, we were looking how we could manage to mobilize astronauts in a more efficient way on the surface of Mars. We opt to merge two designs to obtain the desired results:

Bionics Boots:

Keahi Seymour, creator of these boots, was inspired by the elastic riding of ostriches to increase the speed of the user, up to 25mph. These boots are made from aluminum and carbon fiber, with elastic tendons. We use these boots as an additional accessory to the spacesuit, used to propel the astronaut farther, as the planet's gravity (around 1/3 of Earth's) works for the speed and agility, allowing the user to run faster with minimal effort. [4]


The design of this jetpack is very similar to a vacuum flask, since we insulate the double oxygen tank inside with vacuum, greatly lengthens the time over which the tanks remains in a stable temperature than Mars environment, which is mostly cooler. We use Mars' carbon dioxide, which is compressed via a compressor in place. The duration of the oxygen is roughly 8 hours of normal use, and the battery last for 5 hours of normal use (valve and flow controls, and use of emergency light). This jetpack is made from a strong higher strength polycarbonate plastic, and weights 90 pounds. We use a PLC to manage the electro valve that regulates the flow of oxygen entering the spacesuit and to manage proportionally the thrusters, using the controls from the spacesuit.

Resources Used
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