Building on Mars with Mars Trac, the Open Source Construction Rover

A multi-disciplinary group at Arizona State University adapting Open Source Ecology's LifeTrac vehicle for Mars.
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Miekkal Clarkson
Email Verified
Technology
Tempe, Arizona
United States
9 Team Members

Featured Perk:  'Firefly Camp' by Anie Miles

We are students with big ideas for Mars!

We are a diverse team of graduates, undergraduates, and faculty advisers at Arizona State University. We want to see humans explore and colonize Mars in our lifetimes! To achieve this goal, we began adapting an open source vehicle to aid the construction of a habitat for humans on Mars.

Todd and the team builds a wood 1/3 scale model of MarsTrac.

"Why does it look like an Erector set?" Our concept is to reuse a small set of standardized parts to build our vehicle and support systems. This makes our design incredibly redundant without extra complexity, because you only have to retain a smaller set of replacement parts and a simpler maintenance setup.

(Lucas Blog, Open Source Ecology)

In the future, other machines can be built using the same pieces. We can construct an entire industrial ecology for colonists on Mars! Even using current methods and research, NASA and it's partners have shown you can separate martian soil into metals, and separate the gasses in the martian atmosphere into fuels such as methane.  (See: Sabatier reaction andISRU)

Together, we will turn these basic components into more complex machines, not just tractors and lathes, backhoes, and CNC machines; but entire support industries for our hypothetical colonists. Learn more on our website.

Navigate our Campaign


Who is our team?


  • Todd Gilbert, USN Veteran and Geologist, Project Director
  • Jekan Thanga, Ph.D. in Robotics, Project Advisor
  • Anand Biradar, MS in Mechanical Engineering, Engineering Lead
  • Joshua Gigantino,  MS in Design, Human Factors
  • Miekkal Clarkson, Administrative Lead
  • Michael Mein, BS in Astrophysics
  • Brandon Keeber, Solidworks
  • Amanda Aubry, MDRS Team Astronomer
  • Sean Goertz, Fundraising
  • Leah Pettis, BS in Geology,  Photographer

Where did this idea come from?!

Open Source Ecology's Life Trac 6

The above video is the Life Trac 6, the original design for earth-based agriculture developed by Open Source Ecology, a project to redesign the 50 machines all modern society is founded upon. It was our inspiration, and our goal is to adapt and expand this amazing project to the exploration and development of the Red Planet.  

By helping fund our student lead team, you will be helping to push humanity beyond Earth and into being a multi-planet species!

What We Need!

We need to raise $16,000 to build the vehicle and do initial testing to improve it. Here is the breakdown:

  • $5000 for the steel frame and hardware. (Hollow rounded square 4x4 steel tubes, bolts and nuts.)
  • $4000 for our modified "power cubes" (Frame, engines, hydraulic pumps, batteries, sockets, switches.)
  • $3000 for our Hydraulic/Electric system (Tubing, cylinders, connectors, wiring, motors)
  • $2000 for our Remote Control system ( Control panel, electronic actuators.)
  • $2000 for the transport  and support fees for the Mars Desert Research Station. 

Mars Desert Research Station in Utah

Amazing Perks from SPAAAAAACE!

  • Signed Books and Comics!
  • Signed Artwork and Posters!
  • Analog Mars Dirt!
  • MarsTrac T-Shirts!
  • Custom Wood and Steel Thank You Plaques!
  • 3-D Theater Shows in Tempe, Arizona!
  • Name the Vehicle or Place your Logo!

So many amazing Authors and Artists have donated signed copies of books to our effort to design vehicle and equipment for Mars, including:

Paige Braddock, P.J. Haarsma, Gary Hodges, Steve B. Howell, Jason McNamarra, Brandon Peterson, Kim Stanley Robinson, Stuart Sayger, David Lee Summers, and Matthew Alan Thyer!


Artwork and Posters have been donated to our campaign by:

John Eaves, Matt Goodall, Andy Kuhn, Leo Leibelman, Ant Lucia, Anabel Martinez, Billy Martinez, Anie Miles, Jason Pederson, and Jeff Pina.


"The Send Off' and 'Upper Shuttle Bay' by the inspiring John Eaves of Star Trek's Ship of the Line Calendar. Each print is 11" by 17" and is signed, "Thanks for supporting space hardware!" Only one of each is available for $50 and comes with a MarsTarc sticker.



'Molly' and 'Spacegirl in Plaid Portrait' by Matt Goodall each for $25 and is packaged with a MarsTrac sticker.


'The 10th Doctor' by Andy Kuhn. Matte print at 13" x 19" signed for $50, and comes with a MarsTrac Sticker.


'Darth Vader', by the incredible Leo Leibelman. Print is glossy, marked at $40, and is packaged with a MarsTrac sticker.


'From Venus with Love' by Ant Lucia. Semi-gloss print, sized 16" by 20" and is signed by the artist, "Thanks for supporting space hardware!" This print is only $50 and is packaged with a MarsTrac sticker.


The amazing Mass Effect artwork of Anabel Martinez. Each is 11" by 17" and is signed by Anabel, "Thank you for your support of space hardware!" Each print is $50 and is packaged with a MarsTrac sticker.


The incredible Anie Miles has hand signed each of these 12" by "18" prints, "Thank your for supporting open hardware on Mars!" Each print is $50 and comes with a Mars Trac sticker!

Firefly Camp


Tardis

If that wasn't cool enough, we have collector postcards for every fandom! Each signed, "Thank you for supporting Open Hardware on Mars!" Each is $20 and comes with a Mars Trac sticker!


'Space Goddess' by Billy Martinez. This premium print is $50 and is packaged with a MarsTrac sticker.


'Great Migration: Blue Whale' by Jason Pederson. This landscape print is $50 and is packaged with a MarsTrac sticker.


'Curiosity and Opportunity' and Test Subjects poster signed by the audacious Jeff Pina and crew! $25 each! Limited Availability!


Mars Dirt for $35! Developed by NASA from Viking Lander Data!

Custom labeled test tubes filled with actual JSC MARS-1A regolith stimulant, identical to the stuff used by NASA to simulate the martian environment.



MarsTrac Honorary Team Member T-Shirts for $25

Show off your pride. Tell the world that you believe in Humans to Mars. Wear a symbol of Open Source Hardware that lets everyone know you contributed to the betterment of human knowledge and  exploration!

                         


Exclusive MarsTrac campaign patches and stickers!


3-D Theater Astronomy Shows in Tempe, Arizona!

Are you local or visiting Tempe? We have added tickets to a 3-D Astronomy Show at the Marston Exploration Theater @ ASU's ISTB 4 to several of our packages. Just look for the word Local to save money on shipping and get a free perk add-on!


Unique Wood and Metal Thank You Plaques

At the $125 level you begin racking up a ton of perks, including your name on a custom designed and laser etched wood plate. Just like the ones we used to build our 1/3rd scale model! 

At $500 your plate will be made out of machine steel and your name will be engraved into the surface, and we will record a thank you video to show how much our team appreciates your amazing generosity!


And More!

  • Be a Honorary Engineer with a engraved steel wrench!
  • You can have your name engraved on the rover or name the rover itself.


What if we don't make our goal?

We are confident we can reach our goal, but if we don't, the collected funds will go towards creating a smaller, remotely operated rover with the same mission.


Why is this important to us?

Some of the MarsTrac team at Phoenix Comic Con.

This is just a prototype, yes. We’re working with a computer simulation, a 1/3 scale model, and a bunch of  good ol’ dreaming. But your contribution can change that. If we reach our fundraising goal, we can build a full scale prototype that can be driven, tested, and troubleshot. As soon as we build this, we’re taking it out to the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) and putting it through its paces. 

Humans to Mars. (NASA)

 MarsTrac itself is a representation of something more, of an ecology of machinery that can be used in the harsh environment of the Martian surface, and be the support infrastructure that future astronauts will absolutely need to be successful in their missions to the red planet. The goal of MarsTrac is simplicity, something that can be taken apart and put back together with the fewest pieces and directions, that can become interchangeable with the entire collection of technology, and that can be easily produced in the environment without reliance on material from Earth.


Arizona State University has a fantastic record of building competition and commercial rovers, vehicles and robotics. We are well represented at NASA's Luna robotics competition, and our members have even flown experiments in Zero-Gravity.


Other Ways You Can Help!

If you find yourself unable to contribute financially, don’t sweat it. Every little bit helps, and every click of our share button more so. The more people who hear about our project, the more people can finance our dream, and the faster we can reach our goal. Word of mouth is the currency of the internet, and in that aspect, everyone is rich. So get out there, slap us onto your Facebook wall, tweet our link, blog, share, and post to get more eyes on this page. 

Thanks for your support!

Sponsors and Partners

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Find This Campaign On
$2,525USD
raised in 2 months
16% funded
No time left
$16,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on August 4, 2014
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Select a Perk
  • $5USD
    Watcher Pack

    You get access to all of our updates, including published papers, transcripts of talks and documentation released through our newsletter. PLUS your name on the thank you section of our website.

    1 claimed
  • $10USD
    Fan Pack

    You will receive an exclusive MarsTrac Indiegogo sponsorship sticker, PLUS all the access and thanks of the Watcher Pack.

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2014
  • $15USD
    Cadet Pack

    You get an official MarsTrac embroidered mission patch, PLUS all the access and thanks of the Watcher Pack.

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2014
  • $20USD
    Normandy Fan Pack

    Postcard is signed, "Thank you for supporting Open Hardware on Mars!" Plus a Mars Trac sticker, and access to the Watcher Pack!

    0 out of 1 claimed
  • SOLD OUT

    $20USD
    Enterprise Fan Pack

    Postcard is signed, "Thank you for supporting Open Hardware on Mars!" Plus a Mars Trac sticker, and access to the Watcher Pack!

    1 out of 1 claimed
  • $20USD
    TARDIS Fan Pack

    Postcard is signed, "Thank you for supporting Open Hardware on Mars!" Plus a Mars Trac sticker, and access to the Watcher Pack!

    0 out of 1 claimed
  • $20USD
    Millennium Falcon Fan Pack

    Postcard is signed, "Thank you for supporting Open Hardware on Mars!" Plus a Mars Trac sticker, and access to the Watcher Pack!

    0 out of 1 claimed
  • SOLD OUT

    $20USD
    Serenity Fan Pack

    Postcard is signed, "Thank you for supporting Open Hardware on Mars!" Plus a Mars Trac sticker, and access to the Watcher Pack!

    1 out of 1 claimed
  • $25USD
    Cavalier Pack

    You get an exclusive Indiegogo MarsTrac Campaign t-shirt, PLUS all the access and thanks of the Watcher Pack.

    1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2014
  • $25USD
    'Curiosity and Opportunity'

    You get a signed copy of Jeff Pina's 'Curiosity and Opportunity' 8"x8" Mini-print, plus everything in the Fan Pack and below!

    0 out of 3 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • SOLD OUT

    $25USD
    'Molly'

    'Molly' by Matt Goodall, Matte Print, 11"x17", Unsigned. With everything in the Fan Pack for free.

    1 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $25USD
    'Space Girl in Plaid Portrait'

    Space Girl is rocketing to you in at 5.5" x 8.5", in Matte and signed by Matt Goodall, "Thank you for supporting space hardware!" Fan Pack strapped on for free!

    0 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $25USD
    'Test Subjects' Poster

    Signed by Jeff Pina, Ben Glendenning and Val Hochberg. 11"x17", Glossy print. Plus a complimentary Fan Pack.

    0 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $35USD
    Research Aide Pack

    You will receive a limited edition polyurethane test tube printed with "MarsTrac Indiegogo Sponsor 2014" and filled with JSC MARS-1A regolith stimulant. (That's NASA's official stand-in for testing martian soil.) PLUS you will get everything in the Fan and Watcher pack.

    4 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2014
  • $35USD
    Local Research Aide Pack

    Everything in the Research Aide Pack + 2 tickets to the 3-D Astronomy show at the Marston Exploration Theater, held weekly at ASU's Tempe campus. This perk is for LOCAL PICKUP ONLY, NO SHIPPING.

    1 out of 30 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2014
  • $35USD
    P.J Haarsma's Pack

    1 of only 10 books hand signed "Thank you for supporting students for the exploration and development of space!" by P.J. Haarsma. Each book is from the wildly popular Softwire series. PLUS everything in the Fan Pack.

    0 out of 10 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2014
  • $35USD
    'A Keplers's Dozen' Pack

    One book. Thirteen stories about Distant Worlds that Really Exist! Get a signed copy of A Kepler's Dozen edited by Steve B. Howell and David Lee Summers. Plus a free Fan Pack!

    0 out of 5 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $35USD
    'Dino's vs Marsbots' Pack

    A Dinosaurs vs. Marsbots activity book, signed "Thank you for supporting open hardware in space!" by author, Gary Hodges. A Dinosaurs vs. Marsbots sticker, and Marstrac Sticker. Plus all the access and thanks of the Watcher Pack

    0 out of 2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $35USD
    'The X-Files Annual 2014' Pack

    Signed by Stuart Sayger, the artist behind this unbelievable comic. Text reads, "Thanks for supporting space hardware!" Package with a Mars Trac Sticker.

    0 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $35USD
    The Big Red Buckle Pack

    Get a copy of Matt Thyer's story of epic martian endurance sports and humanity's future on Mars, Signed by the author and packaged with a Mars Trac Sticker.

    0 out of 20 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $40USD
    'The Martian Confederacy' Pack

    Only two packs available! We will send you one copy each of 'The Martian Confederacy' Vol. 1 and 2. Each graphic novel has been had signed by the artist Paige Braddock! Also, we will throw in a Fan Pack for free!

    0 out of 2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $40USD
    'Darth Vader'

    'Darth Vader' by Leo Liberman is printed on glossy paper 14" by 20" and signed by the artist, "Thank you for supporting Open Space Hardware!" Discounted for a few dings around the edges. There is a Fan Pack attached, for you rebel scum out there.

    0 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $50USD
    'Venus Overdrive' Pack

    One copy only! The marvelous art of Brandon Peterson, signed with custom Iron Man artwork. Hardcover. Packaged with everything in the Fan Pack.

    0 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $50USD
    'Commander Shepard'

    'Commander Shepard', by Anabel Martinez, signed "Thank you for your support of space hardware!" Comes w/protective sleeve. Plus a MarsTrac Team Sticker and the Watcher Pack for free.

    0 out of 4 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $50USD
    'Shepard's Last Stand'

    'Shepard's Last Stand', by Anabel Martinez, signed "Thank you for your support of space hardware!" Comes w/protective sleeve. Plus a MarsTrac Team Sticker and the Watcher Pack for free.

    1 out of 4 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $50USD
    'Tali'

    'Tali', by Anabel Martinez, signed "Thank you for your support of space hardware!" Comes w/protective sleeve. Plus a MarsTrac Team Sticker and the Watcher Pack for free.

    1 out of 4 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $50USD
    'Garrus'

    'Garrus', by Anabel Martinez, signed "Thank you for your support of space hardware!" Comes w/protective sleeve. Plus a MarsTrac Team Sticker and the Watcher Pack for free.

    1 out of 4 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $50USD
    'From Venus with Love'

    'From Venus with Love' by Ant Lucia. Semi-gloss print, sized 16" by 20" and is signed by the artist, "Thanks for supporting space hardware!" Comes w/protective sleeve. Plus a MarsTrac Team Sticker and the Watcher Pack for free.

    0 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $50USD
    'The 10th Doctor'

    'The 10th Doctor' by Andy Kuhn. Matte print at 13" x 19" signed. There will be an extra Fan Pack inside this TARDIS.

    0 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $50USD
    'Space Goddess'

    'Space Goddess' is 19" by 13" and is printed on matte paper. Artist, Billy Martinez has signed this exquisite print. She is carrying an extra Fan Pack in her space suit, just for you!

    0 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $50USD
    'Great Migration: Blue Whale'

    'Great Migration: Blue Whale' by Jason Pederson is signed by the artist and measures 11" by 17". Comes with a free Fan Pack!

    0 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $50USD
    'The Send Off'

    'The Send Off' by the John Eaves of Star Trek's Ship of the Line Calendar. This print is 11" by 17" and is signed, "Thanks for supporting space hardware!" Only one available, and is packaged with a Fan Pack for free.

    0 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • SOLD OUT

    $50USD
    'Maneuvers'

    'Maneuvers' by the John Eaves of Star Trek's Ship of the Line Calendar. This print is 11" by 17" and is signed, "Thanks for supporting space hardware!" Only one available, and is packaged with a Fan Pack for free.

    1 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • SOLD OUT

    $50USD
    'Separation'

    'Separation' by the John Eaves of Star Trek's Ship of the Line Calendar. This print is 11" by 17" and is signed, "Thanks for supporting space hardware!" Only one available, and is packaged with a Fan Pack for free.

    1 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $50USD
    'Upper Shuttle Bay'

    'Upper Shuttle Bay' by the John Eaves of Star Trek's Ship of the Line Calendar. This print is 11" by 17" and is signed, "Thanks for supporting space hardware!" Only one available, and is packaged with a Fan Pack for free.

    0 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • SOLD OUT

    $50USD
    'Serenity'

    ONLY ONE AVAILABLE! The incredible Anie Miles has hand signed this 12" by "18" prints, "Thank your for supporting open hardware on Mars!" Each print is $50 and comes with a Mars Trac sticker!

    1 out of 1 claimed
  • $50USD
    'Tardis'

    ONLY ONE AVAILABLE! The incredible Anie Miles has hand signed this 12" by "18" prints, "Thank your for supporting open hardware on Mars!" Each print is $50 and comes with a Mars Trac sticker!

    0 out of 1 claimed
  • $75USD
    Combo Pack

    You get everything: a t-shirt, a custom test tube, a patch, a sticker and laser cut mahogany plate from our mock-up build, with "MarsTrac Expedition Member 2014" burned into the wood. PLUS all the access and thanks of the Watcher Pack.

    2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2014
  • $75USD
    Local Combo Pack

    Everything in the Combo Pack + 2 tickets to the 3-D Astronomy show at the Marston Exploration Theater, held weekly at ASU's Tempe campus. This perk is for LOCAL PICKUP ONLY, NO SHIPPING.

    1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2014
  • $100USD
    Kim Stanley Robinson Pack

    1 of only 12 books hand signed "Thanks for supporting open hardware on the space frontier! Stan 2013" by Kim Stanley Robinson. Each donated for this Indiegogo from his personal collection. In the spirit of fairness, each book will be randomly selected from the following titles: Red Mars, Green Mars, Galileo's Dream, and 2312. PLUS everything in the Research Aide Pack.

    4 out of 12 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2014
  • $125USD
    Expedition Pack

    A thank you photo from the team at the MDRS signed by all of us. We also throw in our Campaign t-shirt, a Mission Patch, a test tube of Mars Simulant, a sticker, a laser cut mahogany plate from our mock-up build, with "MarsTrac Expedition Member 2014" burned into the wood. PLUS all the access and thanks of the Watcher Pack.

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2014
  • $250USD
    Engineer Pack

    You will receive a steel wrench with "MarsTrac Honorary Engineer 2014" engraved into the surface. PLUS everything in the Combo Pack!

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2014
  • $500USD
    Steel Pack

    You will receive a steel plate from our vehicle build, with your name and "MarsTrac Team Member 2014" engraved upon the surface. We will record a unique thank you video from the entire team. PLUS you will get everything from the Combo Pack.

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2014
  • $1,000USD
    Titanium Pack

    You will have your name or organization engraved on the actual rover for all the world to see in our videos, photos and promotional media. PLUS you will get everything from the Steel Pack.

    1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2014
  • $5,000USD
    Plutonium Pack

    You will get to name the rover itself. This name will be used by the crew,in all official documentation, and with the media (name must be tasteful.) PLUS everything in the Titanium Pack.

    0 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2014
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