Posted: July 31st, 2022

Martian Farm on Mars

Mission Name: Dagon (decided by group members)
Mission instrument: Tega- Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer checks the soil content for organic elements and the presence of water. Useful to see if the soil can support life.
Mission hypothesis: Assuming Martian soil can support plant life, then other factors related to Martian geography affect the ability for plants to survive. Our mission will focus on determining an ideal location for a Martian farm. We chose Mars because the idea of life on Mars is significant to modern science and pop culture.

Chief Scientist(CS): Goal: As the team leader, she/he is responsible for providing overall integration of the mission and the written report. She/he will need to obtain background information about the location, about previous explorations at the location,and define the scientific questions that will be addressed in the mission. What information needs to be collected in order to answer the scientific questions? Provide justification for why the instrument(s) that your team selected to be on board are the most relevant in regards to collecting the needed information.She/he will have to be able to really focus on the science questions and how the hypothesis(es) will be answered with the data that get collected. She/he needs to find information on the science questions related to the hypothesis(es), and for instance, should wonder where have these questions been asked previously and what was learned? She/he will need to be able to see the big picture, but also be able to understand all of the smallest details of any other aspect of the mission. At every step of the mission development, she/he should make sure that the work done by every team member is in line with the common goal of the mission (= is the work done by this team member consistent with the mission goal? Does it help address the scientific questions? If not, then it is then the Chief Scientist should help the team member with the reorientation of his/her work).The CS also needs to be forthcoming about what are the potential risks for exploring this object?While there will be new and innovative things pursued, there is also a risk of failure in doing something very difficult for the very first time. She/he needs to communicate efficiently with every team member. Liaise with every member of your team to check progress on the project (she/he should make a list of questions for each member).Describe the scientific motivation and the scientific rational to each of the following questions:What location will the mission be targeting? What previous missions / spacecrafts have explored this location? What was the scientific objective of these previous missions?What phenomena have been observed? What processes have been suggested to explain why the observed features and phenomena occur? What makes this location special in regards to observed phenomena? What aspects of this location are unique in the solar system, or archetypical? What are the important discoveries that have been associated with this location?What questions remain unanswered that your mission wants to explore? What competing theories are there? What evidence has been provided as support for each theory? What new evidence will help resolve disputes and answer the remaining questions?What is the hypothesis being tested?
What is the importance of this mission? Why is this mission the best way to answer and resolve these questions and why should it be selected now instead of other missions that could be carried out?What is your timeline for this mission?When will this mission launch? How long will it take to get there? What is the route of the mission?How long will the mission operate?What is the possible spacecraft design? A rough design will be good enough for this assignment. Or you should at least have some description on how the spacecraft will look like and what instruments will it carry.What are the instruments? What kind of data will you be collecting? (samples, pictures, measurements)? What are the challenges? What are the risks?What are the possible ways to encounter with them?

Please finish my part of the mission and write a report according to the instruction above.
Martian Farm on Mars
The planet today is experiencing a lot of challenges that are unprecedented that the entire species of humans might face extinction if alternatives are not set. Food production is one of the major problems that the human species is facing today, with lack of rainwater resulting in groundwater reservoirs being overused for agricultural purposes. The purpose of this report is to address the aspects and elements associated with a mission set to determine an ideal location for a Martian farm that can act as an alternative food production residence for planet earth. The hypothesis of the mission is based on the assumption that Martian soil can support plant life, which makes other factors related to Martian geography to affect the ability of plants to survive. The instrument that will be used in the mission is the Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer (TEGA), which have the capability of checking the soil content for organic elements and the water present in the soil to determine the soil’s ability to support life.
Mission Objective
• To study the water soil history
• To establish and examine the presence of organic molecules in the subsurface icy soils of Mars
• To determine an ideal location for a Martian farm
Background information of location
The location is one of the significant aspects of the mission. The best ideal location established is the region of Arsia Mons located along the equator. The site is part of the three volcanic calderas that tend to be close to each other. The coordinates for the location are 120.09 degrees west, and 8.35 digress south (Fong et al. 44). The area has been identified as much warmer than the regions of the pole, have rocky surfaces, stable gravity as on Earth, and offers ideal geography to host Martian farms (Haynes, para 2-4).
Scientific Questions
To establish an ideal Martial farm location, the project mission will be based on several scientific questions. The scientific questions for the project include whether the temperature range within site can support plant survival, could the initial release of water from Martian soil be attributed decomposition of sulfate phases or dehydroxylation of Feoxyhydroxides. Another question is whether water soil water release can support the life cycle of plant growth.
Previous Missions
The Mars Phoenix Scout Mission that was conducted between 2007 and 2008 is used as a reference for the planning of this mission. The Phoenix mission used the Thermal Evolved Gas Analyzer as the instrument to conduct its mission. The location of the mission was on the Northern plains of Mars, where the team was able to successfully examine soils and environment capability of the location to support plants’ survival (Sutter et al. para 1). During the mission, TEGA was used to detect evolved volatiles and organic and inorganic materials in the soil component. The analysis included five different samples of Martial soils through heating up to 1000°C in the differential scanning calorimeter (DSC) ovens.
The results obtained on the mission indicate the presence of water, whereby the low temperature of 295°C released low water quantity, with higher water with high temperature following as the temperature rose to 735°C. The higher temperature of water from the data collected in the analysis of TEGA indicated that there was a presence of an endothermic peak with an onset temperature at 730°C with corresponding CO2 release. However, the TEGA spectrometer was unable to detect the presence of organics in the Martian soil. The mission conducted by Phoenix was able to detect the presence of Fe-oxyhydroxides, phyllosilicates, and hydrous sulfates in the water at temperature (Sutter et al. para 2-5). The reason why organic was not detected in the soil is possibly due to the presence of a high degree of calcite that was released from perchlorate decomposition. Since the Phoenix mission failed to identify the presence of organic in Martian soil, this mission’s main goal is to accomplish this objective. Due to the presence of perchlorates on Mars, to detect the organic presence in the Martian soil would require soil leaching, which will remove soluble perchlorate during heating. However, this mission will consider an alternative technique such as supper critical water extraction that can extract organics without heat or destroying them.
The spacecraft used in the mission will be similar to the space shuttle, Albeit but will contain much-increased capabilities. The spacecraft will use Falcon IX boosters for exiting the Earth’s atmosphere. The impulse magnetoplasma rockets will be used to provide propulsion. The spacecraft will be designed with arm and scoop for digging a trench through the topsoil to land on the ice layer near the Mars surface. The spacecraft instruments include thermal evolved gas analyzer (TEGA), a panoramic camera, a decent camera, the microscopy electrochemistry and conductivity analyzer (MEGA), and a robotic arm with a scoop and a camera attached at its far end (Hoffman, Chaney, & Hammack, para. 3-5). The role of the robotic arm, which with an estimated length of 2 meters long, will be to dig a trench through the topsoil for extraction of the icy layer that exists below the surface layer of Mars. MEGA and TEGA will be used to collect and analyze samples extracted. MEGA will be used to analyze the chemical and physical properties of ices and soils (NASA). TEGA contains a set of eight tiny ovens that will be used to melt the ice in samples and to decompose the soil thermally for the mineralogy determination process (NASA). The mass spectrometer will analyze the evolved gas. The other instrument essential for the mission will be the observer AI robots fitted with thermal camera observers to enhance the electronic functioning and locating any potential leaks in any container on board.
Trip Plan
The planning process of the trip to Mars will start by ensuring the team is well set with each member’s well-knowledged about their roles and responsibilities. Training of team members regarding safety requirements will be conducted. This section looks at some of the essential elements related to the trip to Mars. The details include the spacecraft launching time, which will be on September 4, 2020, at 5:00 AM local time. The spacecraft will be expected to arrive at Mars in May 2021 just a month before Mars’s summer solstice. The critical part of the trip is descent and landing, which is expected to be accomplished through the use of parachute and retrorockets. The operation is scheduled to take an approximate of two months.
The eight-month journey will require the team on board to remain fully active, which will require them to adequately feed. The nutritional rich food will be stored in enough quantity to sustain the grew for both journeys and the stay at Mars. Calorie consumption is proposed as the first option due to its ability to support non-physically active humans. Other foods that will be packed for the trip include beef, bread, candy, cereals, chicken, cookies, crackers, eggs, fruits, nuts, peanut butter, potatoes and gratin, puddings, rice, salmon, spaghetti, vegetables, yogurt, turkey, condiments, and beverages (Fong et al. 54). Different mechanisms of food preservation will be used, including freeze-drying, sterilization, and heating. Health is another important aspect of trip planning. Some of the health aspects considered includes sanitation, fitness maintenance of the team, physiological state, and radiation protection.
Risks and challenges of the trip
Traveling deep in space is associated with several risks and challenges. The significant human health risk that the team might face is radiation, which can increase the chances of one developing cancer and obtaining damages on the central nervous system. A general radiation dosage will be given to each team member to reduce the impact of radiation exposure during the trip. Hydrogen and Carbon-rich materials will also be deployed for shielding against Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCR’s). Proper magnetic shielding will be implemented in all onboard electronics to shield them from a small amount of radiation expected to take place onboard (Brabaw, para. 5-16). Another challenge is behavioral issues due to long time isolation and confinement in a small space. The team will be well trained on how to maintain their mental health to avoid problems associated with isolation and confinement. The team will encounter different gravity fields, which cause bone loss, immune system to weaken, and muscle atrophy. The Crew Health Care System (CHeCS) suit will be used to support the team in adjusting to different microgravity.
Work Cited
Brabaw, Kasandra. From Radiation to Isolation: 5 Big Risks for Mars Astronauts. 2019. Accessed on Mar. 6, 2020.
Fong, Kenneth, Andrew Kelly, Owen McGrath, Kenneth Quartuccio, Matej Zampach. Humanity and Space. Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Accessed on Mar. 6, 2020.
Haynes, Korey. Scientists are figuring out how to farm Mars. Astronomy Magazine. 2018. Accessed on Mar. 6, 2020.
Hoffman, John, Chaney, Roy, & Hammack, Hilton. Phoenix Mars Mission—The Thermal Evolved Gas Analyzer. Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry. 2008. Vol. 19, Iss. 10, Pp. 1377-1383.
NASA. Phoenix Mars Lander. 2020. Accessed on Mar. 6, 2020.
Sutter, B., W. Ming, W. V. Boynton, P B. Niles, J. Hoffman, H. V. Lauer, and D. C. Golden. SUMMARY OF RESULTS FROM THE MARS PHOENIX LANDER’S THERMAL EVOLVED GAS ANALYZER. NASA: The New Martian Chemistry Workshop. 2009. Accessed on Mar. 6, 2020.

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