This project is solving the Hitch a Ride to Mars challenge.
Could be Mars our second home? In our times, when the quest for Mars is still being debated, we try to see further and ask ourselves: is Mars habitable? The question could be easy to answer to, but we don't want to lose hope. Is there a possibility to soften the harsh conditions and Mars and make it a suitable place for a stable colony?
That is the purpouse of the Mars, Sweet Mars challenge: trying to complete the studies made by the NASA Caves of Mars Project with the data gathered by the CubeSats. The Caves of Mars Project was a NASA program created with the objective to study underground structures like caves, lava tubes and canyons, in order to understand if these could be possible locations for manned missions facilities. An underground structure could, in fact, offer shelter from dangerous elements like sandstorms and from radiation (particularly hazardous on Mars); they could also offer access to subterrenean resources like ice and minerals.
The CubeSats would be launched with the 2020 unnamed Mars Rover mission; it's possible that there will be excess mass capacity in the cruise stage to support additional payload. A constellation of 3 CubeSats (a 3U) would be then delivered in orbit in order to grant coverage to all Mars' surface. The constellation would map Mars' surface to analyze the presence of underground structures. This could be done with the use of optoelectronic sensors like an infrared camera, able to distinguish hot areas from cold ones; the latters could effectively indicate the presence of a subterranean structure.
Project InformationLicense: Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0
Source Code/Project URL: https://www.box.com/s/uhh7gzr9tgqncgfhkmlf