One of ten finalists, the group, have been selected to present its plans to aerospace experts, including NASA representatives, this September in Washington D.C., USA. The competition winners will receive a $10,000 prize.

The competition challenged students to design a two-person Mars fly-by mission which could be launched as cheaply, safely and simply as possible no later than 2024. Their project included a design of the modules astronauts would live in, living factors such as oxygen provision during the journey, as well as astronaut health factors. Team member Will Blackler had won an award earlier this year for his proposal to use algae to create oxygen on board a space craft for long space missions.

“A key factor in our design was our heritage strategy, meaning all the technology we planned to use for the mission already exists. This kept cost and risk down and meant it could be designed and built in a tight schedule,” said Will Blackler.

“We entered only in the last two and a half months of the project so we really had to work hard to catch up with this on top of our university work, as this was an extracurricular activity.”

A proud and enthusiastic Dave Cullen, Cranfield’s Professor of Bioanalytical Technology, said “We are tickled pink that a group of our Cranfield students have been selected as the only UK representatives in this global competition and reflects perfectly the ethos of our teaching and research in pushing the boundaries of both people and technology whilst still maintaining a very practical outlook.”

Now the team is looking for sponsorship to help them cover costs of their flights and accommodation in Washington D.C.

Cranfield's Mars Society team
Cranfield's Mars Society team

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.