Mars. Mobile Arctic Research Station.
Mars, The Mobile Arctic Research Station, is exercise in sustainability and advanced technology utilizing a recycled md-80 aircraft fuselage as its main body.
Due in large part to rising fuel prices, and changing demands in regional and international air travel, the MD-80/DC-9 series of jets are losing their place within the fleets of the world’s major airlines. Within the next five years, it is expected that the majority of the fleet of md-80 jets is will be retired. Being one of the most popular regional jets in the world, with over 3,000 produced, this will create an enormous waste stream containing over 12 million kg of waste.
This also creates an amazing opportunity to put the features and design capabilities of these structures to good use. The environment at 9000 meters can be harsh. The fuselages are light weight, designed to with stand winds of over 300 kph, and protect their passengers from temperatures that can go down as low as -150 c. Readily available, these craft are simply rotting in bone yards around the world.
The design utilized as many features of the existing planes as possible. The space under the main deck us re purposed from holding luggage and fuel tanks, to containing a snow smelter, heating and ventilation systems, water pump and filtration system, grey water recycling system, and a bank of lithium ion batteries. Black water is handled by utilizing an envirolit remote composting toilet tank. It also contains a large area reserved for storage of cargo and supplies.
The main cabin retains many of the over head compartments for storage, as well as the second lavatory in its original location. The galley is refurbished to accommodate a stove, extra shelving and storage, and the rest of the passenger cabin is refurbished to remove the seats, and replace them with 4 fold away bunks, work stations, a rest area/infirmary, and a communications center containing the radio arrays and satellite communications equipment.
The MARS, harkening back to its aerospace roots, is powered primarily by two helix wind vertical access turbines. Providing 2.5kw each, this unique design provides the advantage of having a very high power/size ratio, and the ability to operate in Omni directional turbulent wind. This enables them to operate without need for extensive masts and rigging, and to be placed on the roofs of most structures. For days the wind is not blowing, this system is supplemented by a NanoSolar thin film flexible coating on the outer layer of the roof, providing 800-1000w, with an emergency generator as a final backup.
Mobility is achieved in several ways. The MARS is designed to easily fit on to the back of a flat bed semi truck, or be towed by a snow cat or other off road vehicle. The wheels/ski combo are borrowed from arctic aircraft, and are designed to enable easy mobility on both hard (roads) or soft (snow) surfaces. Attachment points are also provided to allow any large helicopter to lift the unit to its next location.
Status: Competition Entry
Location: Arctic Canada