A senior design project, supervised by Professor Victoria Coverstone, has placed at the 2006-2007 AIAA National Undergraduate Team Space Transportation Design Competition
A senior design project, supervised by Professor Victoria Coverstone, has placed at the 2006-2007 AIAA National Undergraduate Team Space Transportation Design Competition. Team Seraph received third place in the national competition.
Chung (Mike) Ngan (Team Leader)
In 1927 Charles Lindbergh set out across the Atlantic alone in The Spirit of St Louis. A century later, we continue this spirit of discovery and set out not only to cross the sea that separates our continents, but the sea of stars that separate our worlds. The goal of Team Seraph is to send humans to Mars, hundreds of millions of kilometers from home, inhabit the surface, and bring them home safely by the year 2028. Exploring Mars will further satisfy our quest in understanding origins of life as well as the foundations of the universe. Unmanned missions, such as the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, have taken great leaps in increasing our knowledge of the red planet. However, the numbers and data collected by robotic expeditions cannot satisfy the human nature of curiosity. In addition, the adaptability and flexibility of humans allows a single expedition to perform more science than any robotic mission. This trailblazing effort requires innovative, safe, reliable, and yet affordable design that will tests the limits of imagination. By utilizing modular technology, such as implementing similar architects for the crew descent and the habitat platforms, the amount of parts that requires design will be dramatically reduced. As a result, the project's overall cost will be significantly decreased while the safety of the mission is increased. Furthermore, employing NASA's existing and expected resources of the near future, such as the Ares V launch vehicle and ground infrastructure, total design expenditure is further reduced. This however, does not diminish the ingenuity of the mission. For example, the most suitable propulsion system for this mission is the nuclear thermal rocket. Assuredly, progress in this objective will require a significant amount of monetary and human effort; however, the success of this mission will expand the sum of human knowledge of space and thereby improve life on Earth.