October 18, 2011
School of Engineering, Amritapuri
Pollution from various sources is increasing day by day. Global temperatures are rising at an alarming rate. Glaciers are melting each second. Mother Earth is weeping.
Considering these mounting problems, what kind of living conditions can we expect in the near future? Each one of us needs to ask ourselves if we’re ready to accept that our actions today may make survival on earth difficult tomorrow.
If human beings continue to make the earth uninhabitable, where will we live?
“On Mars,” answered second-year B.Tech. (ECE) students from the Amritapuri campus, Anandkumar M., Tom Charley, Ashis Pavan and Sanjay S.
These students were part of a team that won the third prize at the Mars Habitat Contest organized by the Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC) in Trivandrum during World Space Week this October.
The team proposed a design for a Martian habitat in which six people could live for a minimum of six months without running out of supplies. Challenges related to the extreme environmental conditions on Mars were considered, as also low gravity, space radiation and space debris.
“From the exterior, Mars appears to ward off every possibility of the existence of life,” the students noted. “Our habitat was designed to provide basic requirements and overcome challenges posed by extreme environmental conditions. It incorporates In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) and can possibly enable long term habitation of the isolated planet.”
“The habitat structure ensures radiation-shielding and implements systems for the supply of oxygen, water, food and energy. It also includes research facilities. There is a waste management system that is designed for maximum re-utilization of discarded items after proper treatment.”
“The design uses existing technologies and aims for maximum efficiency. We tried to make sure that people’s health, both physiological and psychological, will be sound in the new habitat.”
The team warned however, of potential pitfalls, of living on Mars.
“Mars may have the potential to become a new home for Earth’s residents. However, before we seriously consider abandoning planet Earth, we should first change our destructive habits and focus on preserving the planet instead of destroying it. Otherwise, if humans move to Mars, it may mean the end of that planet too.”
The winning Amrita team received a merit certificate and a cash award of Rs. 4000.
Thejus Engineering College and Sree Kerala Varma College from Thrissur District grabbed the first and second spots respectively. In total, 43 colleges from all over Kerala participated in the competition that was judged by 12 VSSC members.
Br. Rajesh Kannan, faculty at Amrita School of Engineering, who guided the winning Amrita team, described the students’ diligence and commitment.
“The students single-mindedly worked hard for the design proposal. As far as second-year students are concerned, this is a remarkable achievement.”