Mars Ice Challenge Forms & Deliverables

Please use the navigation bar to the right for the RASC-AL Special Edition: Mars Ice Challenge.

The navigation bar at the top of the page will take you away from the Mars Ice Challenge site to the webpage for the RASC-AL Deep Space Subsystem Concepts competition

Notice of Intent

Deadline: October 14, 2016

Interested teams are encouraged to submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) to compete by the deadline in order to ensure an adequate number of reviewers.

Mid-Project Review

Deadline: April 2, 2017


Prior to receiving the second stipend installment, each Mars Ice Challenge team must successfully pass a mid-project status review that demonstrates where they are in the development process. The purpose of the review is to provide the Mars Ice Challenge Judges with evidence that your team is on-target to compete at the Mars Ice Challenge competition in Hampton, VA with a fully functioning water extraction system that can complete the tasks outlined in the design constraints and requirements. Teams must pass this review to receive the remainder of their stipend. Failure to pass this review may lead to delays in receiving the stipend, or withdrawal of invitation to the competition.

The Mid-Project Review is a Pass/Fail review and will initially consist of two submissions demonstrating prototype functionality:

  • Submission of a Video

    • The video needs to demonstrate the prototype's:

      • Mounting system (for attachment to the mounting platform)

      • Control interface (e.g. laptop computer, sensors on the drilling system)

      • Operation of the system excavating through both overburden and ice

Note: The video is not expected to be a “finished” product, nor to be lengthy. It simply needs to demonstrate the systems identified above.

    • Videos should be uploaded in MP4 format

    • Videos are limited to a maximum of 4 minutes in length

    • File size is limited to 100 MB

  • A 3-5 page written document

    • The written document should provide a narrative of where you are in the development process, and whether you feel confident that you will have a functioning water extraction system at the 2017 Mars Ice Challenge competition. It should outline:

      • Progress in developing each of the systems described in the video (mounting, control, operation)

      • Any challenges that have been encountered, and how the team is overcoming them (Include how the team plans to address any anticipated challenges)

      • Any significant design changes from your proposal resulting from further development and testing

      • Detailed integration and operational test plan

      • Tactical plan for contingencies and redundancies

      • Safety Plan (including hazards of operating system and planned mitigations, such as Personal Protective Equipment, if needed)

        • List all chemicals or hazardous materials being used

      • Updated schedule/timeline of tasks and deliverables

    The judges will review each team’s video and written document to evaluate the team’s progress towards competition readiness. If there are any concerns regarding a team’s prototype or scheduled timeline, that team may be asked to conduct a follow-up “face-to-face” meeting with the judges via Skype or a webinar. At that point, the judges may request that some change be made prior to moving the team to the next phase of the competition.

    As a reminder, several of the teams who were not initially selected to receive a stipend as a part of this competition have decided to continue working on their water extraction concepts and will also be submitting a progress update to the judges at the Mid-Project Review. If, and only if, a currently selected team fails the mid-project review, the Mars Ice Challenge judges will consider looking at mid-project review papers and videos from any of the teams who were not initially selected to compete. At that point, another team may be able to take the place of an initial team at the competition in June and receive the balance of the stipend.


    To upload your team’s Mid-Project Review Paper and video files, please visit the Deliverables Page on the Mars Ice Challenge Website to complete the online submission form.

    No revisions can be accepted, so please proof your files very carefully before submitting it. If there are any technical problems with the content of your paper or video file (for example, a file was corrupted), we will try to contact you immediately, so it is very important that you provide us with up-to-date contact information on the submission form.

Project Plan

Deadline: November 17, 2016


You are responsible for the formatting and appearance of your project plan. Figures and tables must be in digital format. We recommend that you use image file formats that provide acceptable resolution without being huge (for example, please don't use a 1-MB TIFF file when a 250-K GIF file will do).

File size cannot exceed 1.5 MB.

  • 8 pages maximum (including figures, tables, and references)

    • A cover page is not required, but if your team chooses to use a cover page, it will not count toward the 8 page limit

    • A table of contents is unnecessary

  • Project plans should be single spaced

  • Please use fonts common to Macintosh and PC platforms, i.e., Times, Times New Roman, Helvetica, or Arial for text; Symbol for mathematical symbols and Greek letters.

  • Font size should be between 11 and 12 pt.

  • Project plans should be submitted in PDF Format


  • Title

  • Full names of all team members

  • University name

  • Faculty/industry advisor’s full name(s)

Teams must submit a detailed Project Plan outlining:

  • The following systems requirements:

    • mechanical

    • electrical

    • programming

    • control

  • A detailed timeline including development and testing of all required systems

  • The relevant past experience and capabilities of the team’s systems leads and facilities available for development of the drilling system

  • The physical characteristics and functional capabilities of your proposed drilling system

  • A 3-D view drawing or solid model representation and dimensions

  • A description of how your proposed drill will mount to the lid/mounting platform.

  • A description of how your proposed system will successfully accomplish the competition tasks, including contingency plans

  • A brief discussion on drill concept’s anticipated path-to-flight (how the design could be applied to actual mission on Mars). The path-to flight description must address an overview of critical modifications that would be made to the design if it were trying to extract water on Mars, based on significant differences between Mars and Earth operations. This includes, but is not limited to, considerations for temperature differences, energy/power limitations, and atmospheric pressure differences (i.e., challenges with sublimation). Several paragraphs will suffice.

  • Clear adherence to the Design Requirements and Guidelines


  • Adherence to project plan guidelines (Max – 10 points)

  • Description of how drilling system will accomplish required tasks (Max – 20 points)

  • Description of concept’s anticipated “Path-to-Flight” (Max 20 points)

  • Appropriateness of project plan (Max – 20 points)

  • Project plan capability – degree to which team can accomplish tasks (Max – 30 points)


To upload your project plan (.pdf file), please click on the button below to complete the online project plan submission form. Teams are encouraged to review the Design Constraints and Requirements section to better understand what your system must accomplish as a part of the competition.

No revisions can be accepted, so please proof your project plan file very carefully before submitting. If there are any technical problems with the content of your project plan (for example, your file was corrupted), we will try to contact you immediately, so it is very important that you provide us with up-to-date contact information on the submission form.

Technical Report

Deadline: May 30, 2017


  • Technical Report - due May 30, 2017

    • A 10-15 page technical paper to be judged by Steering Committee, detailing the drill concept’s path-to-flight (how the design can be applied to actual Martian drilling).

  • Technical Poster Presentation

    • To be presented during the Mars Ice Challenge

  • Fully functioning drilling system that meets the Design Requirements

  • Teams do not need to submit a poster in advance of the competition.

More information related to the Technical Report, Poster, and Onsite Portion of the Challenge will be available by January 1, 2017.