"A Mars Outpost, building a prototype of a Martian Base in Poland, an Architectural Design Overview and progress report."

Dr eng. architect Janek Kozicki

Gdansk University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture, Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering

This presentation was shown on COSPAR 2010 conference, Bremen, Germany, 18-25 July 2010.
Download a one page abstract.

Slide 1

My name is Janek Kozicki and I will talk about a Mars Outpost - a small settlement on Mars.

I will give an overview of architectural design. And we are in the process of building a prototype in Poland, so at the end I'll tell you about the current progress of building it.

Slide 2

The design goals are to:
- provide larger living space
- perform transportation in the same mission module as in NASA Reference Mission (8x8 meters cylinder)
- we need an easy delivery and easy deployment
- we need to solve the problems of sociological and psychological nature
- we want to answer to question: what to do after the Reference Mission

Slide 3

To make the design I had to make some assumptions, and those were following:
- that the deployment process will be finalized by people
- that we need the ability to expand the base by attaching additional modules
- that we cannot level the terrain before deployment, and the floor must be adapted to rocky terrain somehow, to provide a flat floor
- that we need the ability to move partition walls inside, to adapt to changing conditions
- that we need to adhere to COSPAR Policy on Planetary Protection guidelines, we need to avoid harmful contamination, we need dedicated systems for trash storage and disposal, we need to prevent backward and forward contamination and we need a quarantine capability

Slide 4

The base must have following functions:
- there are three main areas: living space, laboratory and a workshop
- there are supplemental areas, such as workshop, garage, cockpit (communication and controls room), shelter, life support system, power supply, kitchen, gym, recreation room, laundry, drying room, and so on
- then we need to mitigate the sources of conflicts
- and we need to try to remove them. Like for example the experience from polar studies tells us that we need a big common living area

Slide 5

The base can be divided into three zones and an entrance/communication routes.
- the rest area with private cabins and a kitchen
- the Biological Life Support System (BLSS) - which is mainly the agriculture
- and the work area with workshop and laboratories

Slide 6

To provide enough power for the base we can use a mini-reactor or radioisotopic source. It can be placed either inside or outside of the base. The we also know that agriculture is necessary for the base to be self sufficient, and also the green plants will give some psychological comfort to people. Also we are going to use chlorella to generate oxygen, and we are going to use Sun energy.

Slide 7

Okay, so at this point I know more or less what I want to fit inside a base. But since I want to provide a finished design I need to pick some structure and shape.

So I could use a fully metal structure (like on the top of this slide), that is completely built on Earth, can be well tested, but is heavy and difficult to pack, even with this telescopic extension (shown on drawing). And also planting agriculture is more difficult due to lack of sunlight.

Or I could use a mixed metal-pneumatic structure, which has better weight to volume ratio, could be easily packed and transported but the assembly of which could be overly complex.

Or I could use pneumatic structures, that give a huge gain of volume at relatively small weight, and are easy to assemble, but are difficult to stabilize and anchor to the ground.

Slide 8

Such pneumatic structures could be a large inflatable torus (shown on top right), which is easier to stabilize but needs ceilings to be built that would be supported by the pneumatic wall which could be difficult.

Or I could use a single pneumatic dome. It is rather easy to deploy, but in case of some error where the dome is lost - then all the extra space is lost.

So maybe it is better to have some more pneumatic domes, so I get more space, and in case if one dome is lost then I can use the others. How about three or four domes?

It turns out that with 4 domes the access to the central module is obstructed and the entrance can connecting a vehicle could be difficult, So in the end I am using three domes.

Slide 9

So this is the selected solution, and for each function: agriculture, work and rest there is a different area dedicated. The biggest dome, 24 meters in diameter contains agriculture as the crops require lot of space. There are two large windows, because plants need sunlight.

The residential dome is 20 meters in diameter and the laboratory dome is 16 meters in diameter. In each of them there is a window as sunlight is very comforting for people.

Slide 10

This is how it will be oriented towards the cardinal points and the Sun, so the agriculture gets most of the sunlight. The yellow arrows represent rays from the Sun.

Slide 11

There are two entrances to the base (in the central module), they are both adapted for docking a vehicle with people, so they can enter the vehicle without the suits. The communication routes spread form the central module to whole base, through the elastic sleeves and then around the perimeter of each dome. Also the vehicle has easy access to the garage.

Slide 12

The central module has three floors.

If we have a look closer at the zero level we will see that near to the entrance there are the locks with Martian Space Suits and a first aid point as well as a toilet.

The interesting thing about the zero floor in central module is that during the transportation all those three inflatable domes are packed here in this corridor, and they will inflate out to get to the final shape.

On the first level there is a radiation shelter to hide in during a solar storm. It is protected by two meters of water (the water tanks around the perimeter of the first floor), which are a part of the base Life Support System (LSS) and is also protected by a thicker ceiling.

On the top there is a communications and a control room, the Life Support System filters, and possibly an engine room.

Slide 13

In the residential dome there are eight private cabins, they can be arranged in arbitrary order (alternative arrangements are shown on the left), because pneumatic walls are attached to the floor an each other with zip fasteners. More about those walls later.

Also there is a gym, the kitchen with cold storerooms, a recreational and meeting area.

And there is a communication corridor around the perimeter.

Slide 14

In the work area you have several laboratories, connected with a workshop that can be used to fix the vehicle or the laboratory equipment, and there is a connection with garage.

Also there is an ambulatory just in front of the entrance from the central module, so in case of the emergency this is shortest entrance path, either from the outside or from the docked vehicle.

Slide 15

In the agriculture dome there is a robot that can autonomously take care of crops, there are storerooms for seeds and other equipment, there is a chlorella basin for oxygen generation. And a water evaporation basin, so that the humidity collectors can extract a clean water for the LSS. There is also a small recreational area. And a bumblebee hive for pollination of flowers. And a special equipment for exchanging a sterile soil with the outside.

Slide 16

On those details you can see how the stairs can be unfolded. And there is the airlock with all the necessary conducts, for the power supply and water, for LSS and ventilation shafts.

Slide 17

If you look at the foundation ring, you will see how we can achieve a flat floor on the rocky terrain. There are vectran balloons, and each can be pumped to a different size, they are controlled by the computer with the help of a leveling sensor to achieve a flat surface. On the cross section you can see how this should work.

Here is a cross section detail of the window, and the anchoring detail.

And this is the structure of inner partition wall. It is attached by zip fasteners and can be moved around. So the walls can be arranged in different ways. Inside of the wall there are Isover Fiberglass Balls, because they provide a very good acoustic insulation, and for psychological comfort it is important to no hear what is happening behind the wall.

Slide 18

Let's have a look at short store at how it would be done.

After seven months of journey the container with the habitat arrives to Mars.

Slide 19

Slide 20

Slide 21

It air brakes in the atmosphere and deploys the parachute.

Slide 22

Slide 23

Heat shield opens and the central module pops out, it contains a packed base.

Slide 24

The module stabilizes its vertical descent above the ground, using rocket engines. It also aligns itself in relation to the cardinal points during the landing.

Slide 25

After the landing the container rotates on its base in order to precisely align itself in relation to the cardinal points.

Slide 26

Hatches of the chambers containing the packed pneumatic domes open.

Slide 27

For the pneumatic modules to deploy properly, first the dome's circumferential rim is pumped up with high pressure. The vectran balloons on the bottom are used to level the floor.

Slide 28

The floor is leveled with vectran balloons placed between the floor and the ground. Each balloon is individually pumped to reach a proper size, allowing precise filling of the space between the rocks on the ground and the flat floor.

Slide 29

The 5cm thick floor chamber is being pressure filled with a material which hardens and constitutes the level floor of the base. The modules are pumped up with proper pressure.

The domes are anchored to the ground. Automatic functions are completed at this stage. Setting of the garage and workshop modules, positioning of the interior partition walls and verification of the anchoring is performed by people.

Slide 30

In cooperation with Jan Kotlarz from University of Warsaw we are reconstructing the Mars terrain in 3D to place the base in that terrain. The "Rover and Orbiter Delta Mars" (RODM) algorithm is a perfect tool for scientists and space fans. RODM was created as a thesis work of Jan Kotlarz for a topological seminary by prof. Marian Turzanski, at the Mathematical-Nature Department of Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw. RODM has been nominated by "National Geographic" in the category "scientific discovery of the year" in the plebiscite Travelers 2009. Please have a look at the Website of the project

Slide 31

This is a camera flyby around the base, made by Konrad Mruk. I wanted to thank him for his effort in creating this video.

Slide 32

We are in the process of building the prototype of this base in Poland. Currently two cities are interested:
- Torun, the home city of Nicolaus Copernicus,
- and Kielce where a new center of Science is Planned.
- the talks with administration and city mayors are in progress,
- currently we are looking for appropriate site near the city,
- there is possible funding from European Union, and we are looking for more source of funding.

An update: the talks with administration are currently stalled, but we are not stopping our personal efforts, and are planning to continue preparations of our business plan and designs. By this way we will be ready when the funding becomes available.

Slide 33

Thank you for your attention.

Dr eng. architect Janek Kozicki

modified php sources, courtesy of Andrzej Oszer Janek Kozicki, september 2009