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Inflatable Martian habitat – a new project by “Space is More”

13.02.2015 | Aktualizacja: 13.02.2015 13:00

3D model of inflatable habitat designed by the team (phot. Space is More)

After participating in the finals of the Mars Student Design Contest, the “Space is More” team is not resting on their laurels. They returned from the USA with new acquaintances, certainty that their ideas are worth developing, and power to work. Now, they are presenting their latest project
Mars is said to be our future. The presence of water and the relatively favourable conditions on its surface make it the most hospitable planet in the Solar System apart from Earth.
Hence, for over a decade scientists and the space industry have been working on various solutions that will allow us to examine Mars as accurately as possible and – in the long term – to colonize it.
“Space is More”, a team composed of Wrocław University of Technology students and a doctoral student, has also embarked on a project related to the colonization of Mars. Last year, the team made it to the top 10 that qualified for the finals of the International Mars Student Design Contest, presenting their project of a manned flight to Mars. In the finals, they took 6th place and returned from the USA eager to continue their work.
“We talked about our project and ideas at research centres and universities. We met with great interest and made sure that what we are doing has future.” – says Leszek Orzechowski, a doctoral student at the Wrocław University of Technology Faculty of Architecture, and the founder of “Space is More”.
After returning to Poland, the team started cooperating with Oskar Zięta, an architect and designer working on the Fidu technology of building inflatable metal structures. Such structures are lighter than standard ones, while at the same time prove to be more durable. The individual elements are cut out from sheets of metal using laser. Then, they are welded into an airtight form and inflated with air to produce a stable, 3D structure. Oskar Zięta sums it up in a nutshell: “less weight, more possibilities” and sees future for the technology not only in architecture but also in the automotive and space industries.
Basing on Zięta’s technology, members of “Space is More” designed inflatable Martian habitats. According to their concept, research stations tightly packed in capsules – the so-called outPOST modules – would be first sent to Mars.
The outPOST modules would be made of Kevlar – a very durable material used e.g. in bulletproof vests, helmets, and even in the armour of aircraft carriers. Kevlar torruses (surfaces resembling giant bagels) would be constructed around the so-called life-maintaining system, i.e. devices securing a human-friendly environment, maintaining the required temperature, air pressure, and humidity, as well as getting rid of CO2 and collecting water.
“Our project is in the development phase. We finished the concept and now we are drawing up a grant application that, hopefully, will allow us to gain funds for continuing the work.” – says Leszek Orzechowski – “We plan to submit the application together with Zieta Prozessdesign and a few other partners. If we receive the grant, we will be able to construct a 1:1 prototype of our habitat.”
Lucyna Róg
Translation: Dariusz Więcławski