Life Support Unit
The Life Support Unit is a Lander rigged with extra technologies which capitalize on the natural resources available on Mars: the Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS). This system uses these natural resources to create a habitable living environment for the astronauts, as follows:
- Electrical energy is generated through the application of thin film solar photovoltaic panels. These are flexible and can be rolled up for compact transportation to Mars;
- Potable water will be created through the heating of water ice in the local ground soil. About 60 kilograms of soil is loaded into a container within the ECLSS by the Rover and heated to evaporate the water. The water is condensed and the dry soil returned to its origin. A portion of the water is stored while a portion is used to produce oxygen. Each ECLSS is able to collect 1500 liters of water and 365 kilograms of oxygen in 365 days time;
- Nitrogen and argon gas are extracted from the Mars atmosphere and injected into the habitable space as inert gases. Remember, 80% of what we breathe on Earth is the element nitrogen.
The Life Support Unit is connected to the Living Unit by a tube which feeds the oxygen, nitrogen, and argon to create a habitable atmosphere. Once the astronauts have landed, it will also be in charge of the water purification and removal of waste gas (carbon dioxide) from the Living Unit atmosphere.
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