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American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

    2016-2017 Undergraduate Life Sciences Team Design Competition

    Human Spaceflight: Phobos Base – Request for Proposal

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    Important Dates
    Letter of Intent: 10 February 2017
    Proposals due: 10 May 2017
    Winners Announced: 10 June 2017
    Winning Presentations may be invited to attend an event by the Space Architecture Technical Committee & the Life Sciences Technical Committee in July 2017


    AirTankerImageOne of the greatest challenges for designing a human mission to Mars and sustaining it from the Earth over many varying synodic cycles is how to deploy and stage the lander descent and ascent modules and overall logistics from Mars orbit. For the human exploration of the Mars surface to become reliably repeatable, an orbital platform would be ideal. Fortunately, Mars boasts two moons, Phobos and Deimos, each with the potential to serve as the “gateway to Mars.” As the USA and other countries contemplate the design of human missions to Mars, the best first step may prove to be establishing an exploration, transportation, and logistical support base on Phobos.
    This competition addresses how to advance human life support capabilities, space architecture, life science countermeasures, transportation system support, and the engineering for all these disciplines for the exploration of Phobos and the cis-Mars system. The Phobos infrastructure can then serve as the jumping-off point for the eventual human exploration of the Martian surface.

    Phobos is believed by some planetary scientists to be a captured carbonaceous chondrite asteroid that may contain as much as 13% water by mass. The design of the Phobos Base and its systems may consider the possibility of obtaining consumables and materials through the in situ resource utilization (ISRU) potential there. The potential to exploit these in situ resources may create a profound impact upon the design of Phobos Base.

    Access Complete RFP