NASA Epic Challenge High School Project - Solar Oven Tracking System (SOTS-1)
Presented by: Northbridge High School
Strand: K-12 Education
Several Northbridge High School Seniors will present their Solar Oven Tracking System they call SOTS-1 which was developed as part of the NASA Epic Challenge program to support a sustainable human colony on Mars. This is the culmination of a three year project. SpaceX and NASA visualize establishing a human colony on Mars in the 2020s. However, there are many obstacles we must anticipate and overcome before a sustainable human colony can be realized. One of those problems is the cost, energy, and time required to transport the required construction material and food to Mars.In SitoResource Utilization (ISRU) could significantly reduce this obstacle. Dr. Charles Camarda, NASA astronaut and Senior Advisor for Engineering Development in the Office of the Director, challenged our team to explore ISRU and design a solution to this problem. The team engineered a material processing solar oven call the "Solar Oven Tracking System" (SOTS-1) to process Martian soil into construction materials. After two years of research and development, full scale testing was conducted under simulated Martian conditions (weather, wind, and solar angle). The final SOTS-1 prototype reached temperatures greater than 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit across a 2 cm spot and was able to accurately track the sun. These tests demonstrated that SOTS-1 could efficiently process materials. SOTS-1 has the potential to be a tool that NASA, Boeing, and SpaceX can leverage to help engineer a sustainable human colony on Mars.