GAS STATION ON MARS PBL

 

Scenario

NASA is sponsoring a contest for the design of a Mars-based space station to produce ethanol to fuel exploratory rovers on the red planetís surface. The rovers use ethanol like Earth vehicles use gasoline. The ethanol-producing part of the station must be self-contained and self-sustaining for a least three months at a time, which is the projected interval between mission arrivals. The winner of the contest will receive a large "cash" point rich prize..

 

The Job

You are a biologist who wants to design the ethanol-producing part of the station. You have an engineer friend who will design the equipment needed to make the process work. Your job is to determine the organism you will use (better be really small to fit on a rocket ship to Mars), the biomass production of  the organism on Mars and how to convert the products to ethanol (check out how whiskey is made). You will present your findings to the engineer ( your teacher) who will design the equipment for the process.

 

 

Product:

Design a poster (electronic only) that illustrates the process, plus a typed written explanation.

 

Helpful Topics

Autotrophs

Heterotrophs

Photosynthesis

Light-dependent reaction

Calvin cycle

Anaerobic vs. aerobic respiration

Fermentation

Length of day on Mars

Organisms that produce ethanol

Gases in Martian atmosphere

Light intensity on Mars