Project Description



The Mars Hopper is a robotic vehicle that is designed to use in-situ Martian resources and explore large areas of Mars. A radioisotope source will be used to drive the onboard electrical systems. One component of the system is a compressor which will ingest Martian atmospheric gases, primarily CO2, into a pressurized storage tank. When the Hopper is done taking measurements at a particular location, a valve in the pressurized tank opens and the high speed gases thrust the vehicle to another location. At this new location, the tank repressurizes, and more measurements are taken. This process repeats until sufficient data is gathered. An artists depiction is to the right.


Design and manufacture a thermodynamic Brayton cycle system. Operate the thermodynamic system to generate experimental data. Recommend a design based off experimental data produced from our system to adapt this concept to operate in the Martian atmosphere.


Converts 1000 Watts thermal energy to 250 Watts electrical energy.
Minimal Weight (~20 kgs).
5-10 year life span.
Fit within the dimensions of the PIXIE prototype.