Designing for Mars: extraterrestrial full-body washing

University essay from Lunds universitet/Produktutveckling

Abstract: NASA is currently working toward the goal of landing humans on Mars. One challenge this mission is faced with is the lack of technology or procedure that could provide the explorers with means to maintain good personal hygiene. In collaboration with NASA engineers and architects the task of this thesis was to design a prototype for a nozzle and a conceptual water heater for a Martian full-body washing system. The thesis was conducted mostly based on a conventional design methodology: a literature study, a benchmarking, a function analysis and an iterated design process. There were also some unconventional elements in the methodology, such as a function dissection, a personified target group and an aesthetical analysis of the environment. Extreme environments and conditions require extreme design, so in other words, a re-designed shower will not suffice. No contemporary or historical full-body washing method proved satisfactory for this kind of mission, but a combination of showering and sponge bathing emerged as an efficient way to execute full-body washing. However, for the moment there is no design or technology that can provide this. Examples of design drivers are reliability, repairability, efficiency, smart stowage capabilities, autonomy, self-sufficiency and minimal logistical needs. Several nozzle concepts were generated, evaluated, improved and evaluated anew only to be improved even more. Eventually, a 22 gram nozzle that combines washing methods was designed. It is efficient, reliable, repairable and can provide smart stowage capabilities The design is not yet ready for use - further research is needed - but in conclusion, maintaining good personal hygiene on Mars is definitely feasible.

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