Pressure Regulating System for a Mars Habitat

Project number: 
UA Biosphere 2
Academic year: 
Project Goal: Design a system that maintains a positive pressure in a closed Moon and Mars habitat to prevent the introduction of foreign contaminants.

Maintaining a pressurized vessel is paramount to human survival in the hostile environment of the Moon or Mars. The Automated Pressure Regulation System will ultimately be attached to a high-fidelity Mars habitat analog at Biosphere 2 as part of research into off-world habitation.

The APRS prototype is attached to a one-tenth-scale model of the analog crew quarters. An array of sensors and a Raspberry Pi computer detect the internal pressure of the living quarters. Based on these readings, the system uses a compressor and solenoid valve to either store air in tanks or release air into the system to maintain a steady pressure. A user interface enables the crew to monitor real-time internal and ambient pressures. The system can be operated in either automatic or manual mode.

The scale model properly maintains the required positive pressure differential, thus validating the design. With testing concluded, the APRS is ready for full-scale implementation.

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