Scientific Instruments to Facilitate the Human Exploration of Mars

Miracle Israel Nazarious* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Other contribution


This PhD thesis describes, from an engineering perspective, some of the preliminary steps that need to be implemented to facilitate the human exploration of Mars. It focuses on the development of a set of novel scientific or technology demonstrator instruments. The engineering problem starts with a conceptual idea and the definition of individual functional requirements, that may be related to scientific or technological objectives. To solve this problem, an unique approach adapted during this thesis, allowed for designing and building efficiently, testing and refining the instruments in multiple iterations using simple techniques like 3-D printing, breadboard prototyping and low-cost commercial off the shelf (COTS) components. This approach reduces the cost and facilitates the accessibility of space instrument design and testing to a broader community. The steps include demonstrating the operability of the concept with prototypes, calibrating the responses and validating their operation in representative environments, thereby raising the technology readiness level (TRL) of the instrument with a lower investment in time and resources than traditional approaches that use specialized components and fabrica-tion techniques.

The thesis provides a detailed description of the design and development process, and discusses the calibration and validation results of four different instruments, namely: 1) Brine Observation Transition To Liquid Experiment (BOTTLE) as a part of HabitAbil-ity: Brines, Irradiation and Temperature (HABIT) instrument onboard the ESA/IKI’s ExoMars 2022 Surface Platform Kazachok, for investigating the surface environmen-tal conditions and demonstrating the capability of salts to absorb water on Mars, 2) Metabolt, a small-sized portable incubator to monitor the behaviour of the microbiome in soils, which will be a critical element of future greenhouses on Mars or the Moon, 3) Methanox, an in-situ resource utilization demonstrator for converting local resources on Mars and producing methane and ammonia as space fuel, and 4) PRessure Optimized PowEred Respirator (PROPER), a wearable cleanroom developed for protecting the hu-mans against biological pathogens, showing the direct applicability of this research to solve Earth-based problems. During the final phase of the PhD thesis, the world suffered the COVID-19 pandemic. This challenge provided an opportunity to test the approach presented in this thesis and inspired the development of this equipment, and may also be of relevance to protect from biological cross-contamination in planetary habitats and laboratories while handling local regolith materials and samples on Mars.

This work also highlights the calibration of the HABIT Flight Model (FM) in the cleanroom of Omnisys Instruments AB, Sweden, defines the retrieval models that will be used during ExoMars 2022 mission operations and data archiving in the Planetary Science Archive (PSA). Parts of this thesis were already published in the form of peer-reviewed journal articles and conference abstracts.
Original languageEnglish
TypeDoctoral Thesis
PublisherLTU DiVA
Number of pages178
Place of PublicationLuleå, Sweden
ISBN (Print)978-91-7790-679-7
ISBN (Electronic)978-91-7790-680-3
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2020


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