The NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) proposed the Design for Extreme Environments Studio at RISD to develop the interior design of the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) for the proposed 2030 Mars missions. The MAV's main function is to transport four astronauts from Mars's surface to Mars's orbit for the return journey back to Earth. A full scale MAV prototype was designed with respect to human factors, anthropometry, and mission sequence.
NASA wishes to reduce fuel cost by minimizing the mass of the vehicle, a parameter generally correlated with volume. With mission details and constraints provided by the JSC, the studio explored the following: the minimum interior vehicle volume that would comfortably support four 99th percentile male on a mission ranging from 16 hours to 5 days.
Early sketches and small scale prototypes are shown below.
A mid-semester critique with a human factors engineer from JSC provided helpful insight to clarify unknowns and advice to move forward.
Full scale cardboard mock-up was used to validate design decisions. A scaled down prototype was created to simulate the final construction.
Solidworks was used to model the lasercut 3/4" plywood pieces for the outer skeleton of the final prototype.
The Final Prototype
Project Team members included: Jeremy Bass, Sung Wha Kang, Ji Hyo Kim, Minju Kim, Kenta Kondo, Savanna Li, Megan Valanidas and Azlee Yu. The studio was led by Professor Michael Lye and Teaching Assistant Antonio Papania-Davis.