Mars Water Works: A Production and Storage System for the Planet Mars

Photo of Steven Fernandez, Ricardo Haro, Tanin Nazmul Students: Steven Fernandez, Ricardo Haro, Tanin Nazmul

Sponsor: NASA

Date: Spring 2010

Requirements:
The system must be self powered and fully automated. The system must produce 500 gallons of water per day and have a minimum storage capacity of 5000 gallons. Water must be processed and filtered and be ready for human use and consumption. All components must fit inside a Delta IV heavy launch vehicle.

Problem:
To support a successful manned mission to Mars, a source of water, the most essential element to human life, must be established. The team must determine a feasible method of extracting water from the planet Mars and a method for processing and storing the water.

Solution:
Our team divided the entire system into four subsystems: power generation; upstream exploration and production systems; midstream operations including transportation and storage of water; and downstream operations that process and filter the water. For each subsystem we determined viable solutions and analyzed their feasibility in the Martian environment. The final design is a system that uses solar power and is heated by radioisotope heater units. The system will drill beneath the Martian surface to locate a liquid water aquifer. The liquid water will then be transported from the drilling site to the processing system through a pipeline to a processing and filtering plant.

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Photo related to Mars Water Works: A Production and Storage System for the Planet Mars project
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