Carnegie Mellon University
Tartan Ice Drilling System

We are excited to share that we are finalists in
NASA's 2018 RASC-AL Mars Ice Challenge!

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NASA aspires for human exploration of Mars in the 2030s, yet several deficits in knowledge remain before travel is possible. Robotic missions have been used to help resolve these gaps by gathering information about Mars’ origin, environment, and available resources, as well as how to allow sustained human presence at the Martian surface. Among the resources explored is water: where it is located, what is its purity, and how to obtain it in large quantities. The 2018 Revolution Aerospace Systems Concepts Academic Linkage offers collegiates the opportunity to participate in the cause by developing a method to collect subsurface ice to utilize as a water source.

The Carnegie Mellon University Tartan Ice Miners believe we can apply mining techniques to successfully extract Martian ice with minimal overburden interference and loss of water to sublimation. Our proposed system, the Tartan Ice Drilling System (TIDS), utilizes a coring drill to provide the highest amount of water extraction with lowest energy exerted. Once extracted, the ice cores is melted using induction heating and filtered through vaporization. A low-power microcontroller allows real-time feedback and monitoring of the system, as well as remote intervention if necessary.

Our team is comprised of undergraduate students from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds with a shared passion for space research. Carnegie Mellon University stresses the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration, and we are excited to combine our individual experiences and expertise to create a successful ice drilling mechanism.


We are in the news! Check out these articles detailing our progress.

Pittsburgh Business Time: CMU, WVU teams finalists in 2018 Mars Ice Challenge

TribLIVE: CMU team finalist for NASA's Mars Ice Challenge to drill for water on Mars

Contact Us

Interested in joining or have questions?
Send us an email and we will get back to you as soon as possible!