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Technical Paper

A Discrete-Event Simulation of the NASA Fuel Production Plant on Mars

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is preparing for a manned mission to Mars to test the sustainment of civilization on the planet Mars. This research explores the requirements and feasibility of autonomously producing fuel on Mars for a return trip back to Earth. As a part of NASA’s initiative for a manned trip to Mars, our team’s work creates and analyzes the allocation of resources necessary in deploying a fuel station on this foreign soil. Previous research has addressed concerns with a number individual components of this mission such as power required for fuel station and tools; however, the interactions between these components and the effects they would have on the overall requirements for the fuel station are still unknown to NASA. By creating a baseline discrete-event simulation model in a simulation software environment, the research team has been able to simulate the fuel production process on Mars.
Technical Paper

A Distributed Simulation of a Martian Fuel Production Facility

The future of human exploration in the solar system is contingent on the ability to exploit resources in-situ to produce mission consumables. Specifically, it has become clear that the success of a manned mission to Mars will likely depend on fuel components created on the Martian surface. While several architectures for an unmanned fuel production surface facility on Mars exist in theory, a simulation of the performance and operation of these architectures has not been created. In this paper, the framework describing a simulation of one such architecture is defined. Within this architecture, each component of the base is implemented as a state machine, with the ability to communicate with other base elements as well as a supervisor. An environment supervisor is also created which governs low level aspects of the simulation such as movement and resource distribution, in addition to higher-level aspects such as location selection with respect to operations specific behavior.