RASC-AL Team makes it to Finals

Team members from left to right: Tom Skahen (Team Lead), David Richardson, Garrett Ailts, Devin McGee, Kate Kwiecinski, Sam Somrock, Shivani Mahajan

The AEM RASC-AL (Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts—Academic Linkage) team made it to the finals of this year's NASA RASC-AL competition taking place in June 2020. 

For the first time, the UMN team is comprised of 6 AEM students and 1 Physics department student. John Weyrauch and Chris Regan are the advisors of the team.  

The 2020 RASC-AL competition invited teams of university students to develop new and creative concepts that would leverage innovations for NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration program and future human missions to Mars. There were five themes for the competition: 

  1. South Pole Multi-purpose Rover
  2. International Space Station as a Mars Mission Analog
  3. Short Surface Stay Mars Mission
  4. Commercial Cislunar Space Development
  5. Autonomous Utilization and Maintenance for Science Payloads on the Gateway and/or Mars Deep Space Transport.

15 teams were chosen as Finalists to present their concepts in a competitive design review at the RASC-AL Forum in June 2020.

RASCAL Mars base concept art

Concept Photo Mars Base

The UMN Team project, Sisyphus, was developed under the RASC-AL’s 2020 Theme 3: Short Surface Stay Mars Mission. The mission will achieve the first human landing on another planet and support the search for life on Mars. To make this mission possible, several new designs have been proposed, including the Off-Earth Tracked Rover, habitat configuration, electric curtain and a centrifugal artificial gravity system.The crew will consist of four members—two to land on Mars, engaging in scientific work for approximately thirty days, and two to support the mission from orbit. Surface work will be assisted by the use of a pressurized rover capable of drilling core samples. This rover, the crew and all other equipment will be delivered to the surface by up to three landers, each with a capacity to deliver 22 tons to the surface. This mission will depart from Earth prior to December 31, 2035.

This year's team has been working very hard and has done a great job. Congratulations! We wish you success at finals!