The Martian Agriculture and Plant Science Team
The Martian Agriculture and Plant Science Team (MAPS) is a group of eight students within the Space and Satellite Systems Club who designed a greenhouse intended to support human crew on a hypothetical future manned mission to Mars. The MAPS greenhouse was a submission to NASA's 2019 BIG Idea Challenge, which is an annual engineering design competition that seeks innovative design solutions from college students. The MAPS greenhouse uniquely explored the possibility of using Martian regolith to create a reliable and Earth-like growing environment. Because Martian regolith is known to contain toxins, the team developed a special cleansing process that would turn the regolith into usable soil. MAPS also designed an umbrella-like central structure that would allow for two-levels of plant growth and a large workspace. Out of over twenty submissions from universities around the nation, MAPS was placed in the top five and given funding to further our design and to fly to the BIG Idea Forum at NASA Langley in Virginia. In April of 2019, the team attended the forum and presented their ideas in front of a panel of judges and the other finalist teams. MAPS was the only team at the forum that consisted primarily of Freshmen and Sophomore students.