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ISSN Online: 2379-1748

ISBN Flash Drive: 978-1-56700-517-2

5-6th Thermal and Fluids Engineering Conference (TFEC)
May, 26–28, 2021 , Virtual

Design of a subsurface melting head for use in Martian atmospheric conditions

Get access (open in a dialog) pages 1335-1343
DOI: 10.1615/TFEC2021.edu.032675


The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the European Space Agency, and the China National Space Administration are expected to launch unmanned probes to Mars with the goal of exploring its surface for signs of ancient life and probe for valuable resources such as water. These water resources, in the form of ice, are found in sheets up to hundreds of meters thick and buried mere meters from the surface in some locations. Such deposits could sustain long-term manned missions providing them with fuel, water, and oxygen. A method of melting and extracting this subsurface ice with a machined melting head and water re-circulation is proposed. Passive melting probe penetration is measured both analytically and experimentally and compared to the results of re-circulation tests. The results of these tests indicate that there is a substantial increase in melting speed using an active method of ice melting using water recirculation.