NASA Project MEPSA - 
Mars Water-Based Propellant ISRU

Format: Aerospace
Genre: Engineering
Country: US, New York
Year: 2021-2022
Publisher: ︎︎︎CSI

Proposal for NASA's Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts (RASC-AL) 2022 competition. Our ISRU architecture's primary objective is the production of cryogenic propellant from potential reserves of Martian water. In conjunction with CO2 from the Martian atmosphere, Martian water can yield tens to hundreds of metric tons of CH4 Methane propellant to support future ascents from the surface. Mission design includes: getting to a notional subsurface ice reserve, acquiring the ice, using it to produce fuel and oxidizer, and liquefying and maintaining those propellants long-term on the surface.


Our fully autonomous and self sustainable proposal consists of elements that are coherently working together to maximize productivity and volume efficiency. The overall morphology of our structures is serving as a pressure vessel. The larger volume serves as a storage facility for oxidizer, protected by 2” the layer of silicone on the inside, while its core hosts a smaller volume for methane storage and a scroll compressor system. At the top of the structure, an exhaust as well as navigational mechanical systems allow full on-site supervision over the movement and condition of our structure. 

The material for exterior is aluminum and a carefully designed mesh-like looking exterior facade allows the fully volumetric intak of CO2 from Martian Atmosphere, directly into the scroll compressor system. The bottom of the structure holds silica aerogel sheets used for vacuum H2O extraction, and mechanica systems for a fully autonomous movement of our proposal. Moreover, the location of energ units of the exterior, with wiring relatively close to the bottom surface of our project, allows us to project the generated heat into our advantage of H2O extraction.

Full Proposal ︎Columbia Space Initiative

Text by technical proposal team