MINERA TEAM | Small Spaces, Big Ideas!


Awards & Nominations

MINERA TEAM has received the following awards and nominations. Way to go!

Global Nominee

The Challenge | Small Spaces, Big Ideas!

Create crew-friendly designs for a habitat and/or its multi-use furniture, to be used for isolation studies on Earth that are researching the environmental and human dimensions of life on another planet.


The MINERA HAB is designed on a small area to simulate life on Mars, protected against external & internal hazards, supplied with different recourses, allows privacy and socialization to improve the crew quality of life.

  • The Challenge:

Create crew-friendly designs for a habitat and/or its multi-use furniture, to be used for isolation studies on Earth that are researching the environmental and human dimensions of life on another planet.

  • External Design:

We chose the dome shape of the HI-SEAS which provide more stability rather than compared to other designs such as the cylindrical design of the MDRS (The Mars Desert Research Station) campus. The area we used is 1200 Ft2.

  • Internal Design:

The hab is divided into four main quarters; this design will allow the separation of the hab which will facilitate the transportation in the future planes. It's also divided into 2 storeys for maximum use of space.

  • The Outer Layers:
  1. External Layer: Formed of two surfaces
  • The outer surface: Solar Cells system: The main source of energy is the solar Panels which forms the outer third layer of the hab.
  • The Inner Surface: (Composite Material Layer)
We should have a layer of protection to protect the hab in emergency case; so, we use a second layer at the second side of the solar cells system to do that job. However, in any emergency case; we choose from the control room to turn the outside layer to the protection layer in order to get the protection layer to oppose the lava. So, we can make that layer by using composite materials or any other alloys that has a resistance to electrical conduction & has a very high temperature or has a melting point very higher than the temperature of the lava.This external layer formed of solar panels that can rotate so the two surfaces alter and the protective layer become superficial to the solarpanels for its protection.
  1. Internal layer: Protection Layer (Polymer): it's the second protection layer of the hab, it will be an ordinary layer that are used by NASA'S Hab; that layer will be worked as a second protection layer of the hab which will face the outer pressure & temperature that will go into the hab when the outer layer changed from one (ex. solar cells system) to the other layer (outer protection layer from lava) we can use a material that has many advantages like polymer materials, (it will be light weight also).

  • Resources:
1. Energy:
  • he Solar Energy: The main source of energy is the solar energy from the solar panels in the outer layer, the hab, surrounding solar panels, it surrounds the hab thus takes little place and provide much energy.
  • Other Resources: In addition to solar energy, other resources of energy were included in the internal design of the hab, such as the bicycle and other equipments which are also used for exercise. An energy generator system for converting mechanical energy from a workout or otherwise physical environment to electricity. The energy generator is integrated within workout machines for converting the kinetic energy or mechanical energy to electricity. At least one battery or electricity storage device is provided wherein the electricity is stored or appointed for consumption. As the exercise equipment is being used the kinetic or mechanical energy given off is converted to electrical energy by way of the generator, which transfers the electricity to the battery wherein it is stored or transferred for direct use.
2.The Air Components:

The body has to consume certain materials like oxygen, water, food, and we turn that into waste. So we breathe oxygen in and we breathe out carbon dioxide, which we're going to have to do something with.

  • Remove Co2:One of the things that we have to do is remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere after we breathe it out. We have a chemical called lithium hydroxide-- LiOH-- which actually combines with carbon dioxide and removes it from the air. But it can only do it once, and you can't recycle it. we want reusable scrubbers so that we don't just use the lithium hydroxide once and throw it away. So we have various types of reusable scrubbers. And we can recover some of the oxygen from the CO2 rather than just throw all the CO2 away. [2LioH+Co2 = Li2Co3 + H2O +HEAT]. A kilogram of LiOH-- lithium hydroxide-- absorbed almost a kilogram of carbon dioxid. So we get rid of carbon dioxide and get water that we maybe turn it into oxygen.
  • Generate Oxygen:We can use "chlorate candles.", it may seem kind of counter intuitive that you can actually burn a candle and produce oxygen, but it's made out of chlorate chemicals, which actually have some excess oxygen. And at high temperatures, they release the oxygen.We can also use electrolysis. You take a beaker of water, and you put the two electrodes in. And you put a voltage, and current runs through. And then little test tubes on top, and hydrogen bubbles up into one side and oxygen bubbles up into the other side. You've got hydrogen and oxygen, which you produced from water by electricity.

3. Water supply:

To mimic life on Mars in their dome, water arrived every two months thus they showered once a week. So we added the ECLSS (Environmental Control and Life Support System) Water Recycling System (WRS) that is used in the ISS, which will reclaim waste waters from the Space Shuttle's fuel cells, from urine, from oral hygiene and hand washing, and by condensing humidity from the air. The ECLSS Water Recycling System (WRS), developed at the MSFC, will reclaim waste waters from the Space Shuttle's fuel cells, from urine, from oral hygiene and hand washing, and by condensing humidity from the air. Without such careful recycling 40,000 pounds per year of water from Earth would be required to resupply a minimum of four crew members for the life of the station. The water is stored in tanks in the Storage room.

  • The Storage Rooms
  1. Water Storage Room (WSR): This room it will be a Storage for the several usage ways of the water which will be allowed to the crew, it will contain the water tank, the water recovery system and also it will be used to store any other things that relates to water and its devices.
  2. Food Storage Room (FSR): This room it will be a Storage for the food which it will be prepared with the crew, also it will be used to protect the plants which it will be planted by the crew and also any other things that relates to food and its requirements.
  3. Equipment Storage Room (ESR) : This room it will be used as a Storage for any other equipment, devices and fixing tools, it will protect the common things which they will be used many times in order to use them again several times.

  • The Clinic:
  • Physical Health:

Health Maintenance System (HMS) provides life support and resuscitation, medical care, and health monitoring capabilities. The medical kit includes the Ambulatory Medical Pack (AMP), the Advanced Life Support Pack (ALSP), the Crew Contamination Protection Kit (CCPK), a defibrillator, the Respiratory Support Pack (RSP), the Crew Medical Restraint System (CMRS), and the Medical Checklist. The Medical Equipment Computer (MEC) downlinks data from the medical equipment that is capable of doing so and contains physiological monitoring software, an electronic medical record, and medical reference software, and is the platform for the computer-based medical training.

  • Psychological Health:

There are regularly scheduled private psychological conferences, monitoring of mood and evaluation of work/rest schedules. After the end, there are regularly scheduled interviews to assess the crew members’ psychological re-adaptation to life on Earth.

  • The Exercise area:

The used instruments are used to generate energy. Also Functional fitness is assessed using “gym” exercises to evaluate strength, endurance, flexibility, agility and balance before and after flight. Strength and conditioning of hab crew is also monitored in association with crew exercise protocols.

  • Lab:

The lab has a single door and the room can be isolated in case of emergencies. It's kept away from the water and food storage areas.

  • Kitchen & Socialization:

In the Kitchen, we added multi-use furniture such as the dining table which will be used for eating and as a billiard table.Virtual reality so they can see their friend and family and feel close to them as well as for entertainment, and a projector which will show sceneries from earth, such as morning and night in the ceiling of the open space in the socializing area, similar to the Planetarium Science Center in Library of Alexandria in Egypt. There is also internet connection for communication with a robust system of high-latency communication that imposes a Mars-like 20-minute delay on message reception each way.

  • Bedrooms:

There are 6 separate bedrooms each with a multi-use bed which can be folded to allow a small table to show for work, and has small cupboard to put their clothes in. There is also a small with sufficient free space for movement.

  • Bathrooms:

There are two bathrooms, the first in the first floor which contains a shower, the other one is in the second floor, it's smaller and doesn’t contain a shower. There will be waterless composing toilets that run on electricity.

  • The Control Room

This room will contain all the hardware and equipment responsible for connection with earth, modulation of temperature, the sensors, the energy batteries and fire-fighting system.

In the future, we will simulate the gravity on Mars in the hab to assess the capability of the astronauts to adapt to it.

  • Simulated Airlock

This room will simulate the airlock in the ISS.

  • Advantages

In a nutshell, the MINERA HAB is designed on a small area, protected against external & internal hazards, supplied with different resources, allows privacy, socialization, and communication with families and friends on earth, and most importantly, it aims to maintain a healthy physical & psychological state of the crew.

This will improve the quality of life of the astronauts, which will reflex on their physical and psychological state, allowing them to work better. It's also designed so as to collect data on the crew conditions, giving better result. In addition, it can be used on Earth as a safe settlement for people living in extreme environments and limited resources.

  • References:
  1. https://hi-seas.org/
  2. https://www.vox.com/2015/1/14/7540273/mars-simulation
  3. https://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2000/ast02nov_1
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISS_ECLSS
  5. https://courses.edx.org/courses/course-v1:MITx+16.00x+3T2016/courseware/c23b9e2997b349779e2e5a4c9bc12f23/f09700189d534635837818a1afbb9504/?activate_block_id=block-v1%3AMITx%2B16.00x%2B3T2016%2Btype%40sequential%2Bblock%40f09700189d534635837818a1afbb9504
  6. https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1025.html
  7. https://www.google.com/patents/US20140265334

  • Programmes:
  1. Revit architecture
  2. Sweet Home 3D
  3. AutoCad
  4. SketchUp

  • Attachments:





SpaceApps is a NASA incubator innovation program.