Mars Sample (Un)Return


We are in the year


Since 2017, we have only ~10 biennial launch opportunities to depart from Earth to Mars. Let's use them wisely...


To build a Mars City for 2100, we have to learn the basic context of Mars and know the aspect of the environment as much as possible. Let’s start with understanding the climate, geology, wind, mineralogy. Let's find sources of water, oxygen and building materials, from many locations and terrains on Mars.
One approach is the data we receive from our Mars Sample (Un)Return missions that collect widely-dispersed samples and perform close-up reconnaissance.

What are the best materials to build human habitats? Where would be the best place to build a city, to study Mars and then populate it?  What incremental infrastructure we can set up to facilitate the steps to build this future self-sustaining Mars City?


Mars City LAB, a 1 km square insitu Mars material analysis center, that receives Mars samples from around the Martian globe. The LAB will study, analyze and send out the results back to Earth via orbital relay satellites.


In the vicinity we may have about supporting rovers, such as:

  • Janitor Rover, to maintain the lab and the surrounding area;

  • Mining Rover, mines rocks to create fuel and extract water;

  • Collection Rover to detect the sample vehicle arrival/ rocket landing spots, collect the samples containers, carry it back to the LAB. 

  • Vehicle Sample Collector:

Example:  Balloon concept adapted by MCF Workshop Team 2017 from work done by Titan Systems (Elephant Graveyard), The Planetary Society (the Snake, CNES (Mars Balloon Project) and Google Loon (operational superpressure balloons with ballonet).

Value of this vehicle: cheap, fast, efficient, ability to "go anywhere" on Mars.

See information:

Balloon travels, carrying micro camera, so we on Earth can also watch the view where the balloon flies.

(For contestants - See doc. about Day/Night) 

It can control its height in the atmosphere level, in adaption to the wind. (For contestants - See doc. about Wind)


Balloon is equipped with:

  • An integrated navigation system, (see doc. about Navigation) 

  • A communication system connecting to satellites

  • The ability to position itself above valuable stop areas

  • A small rocket to deliver the samples to the LAB

  • Balloon has a system to continue traveling at night (see doc. about Night)

  • Balloon has night lights and colors to identify its position as seen by satellites. 

  • Once Balloon accomplished its mission to take samples, it will fly closer to the LAB 

  • and fire the small rocket to finally deliver the samples to the LAB.


Categories invited to compete this year:
  1. Architecture & Urban Design
    The Mars City LAB & Infrastructure.
    Site: Anywhere in the Valles Marineris,
    Above Surface OR Underground OR On the Surface


  2. Engineering & Transportation
    Balloon Traveler OR Vehicle Sample Collector 

  3. Robotics
    The Rovers Inside the 1 square km radius of the LAB, OR Outside.

  4. OTHER Category 
    Other highlighted Categories will be: Mars SPORT / Health, Mars FASHION.

    Free to choose your own innovations that you think will benefit our sustainable living style for 2043. (Can be Agriculture, Crypto Currency Economy, HairStyle, or other technology for everyday life we can imagine)

    NOTE: Other details will be provided
    exclusively for those who are officially registered. 



2nd Stage Submission Deadline: Development Stage, before

March 30th, 2018 at 11:59 PM PDT


Finalists will be announced April 30th, 2018


3rd Stage Submission Deadline: 

July 30th, 2018 

Winners will be announced in August 2018 

Early Bird Registration for 2019: September 2018

Registration: October-November 2018

Late Registration: December 2018

1st Stage Submission Deadline: Conceptual Stage, before

Dec 20th, 2018 at 11:59 PM PDT

Semi-Finalists will be announced in January 2019


Dr. Gregory Chamitoff

NASA Johnson Space Center, Spacewalker, Astronaut

Professor Texas A&M, University of Sydney


Daniel Libeskind

World renown RIBA Awarded Architect


Dr. Rachelle Ornan

Human Experience & Design Research Strategy in Aerospace

Boeing, Lockheed Martin, NASA


Brent Sherwood


JPL NASA, Space Architect

Program Manager, Solar System Mission Formulation

Al Bunshaft

Dassault Systèmes

Senior Vice President, Global Affairs Americas

 President of the DS US Foundation


Total value of



Dassault Systemes 3D Experience Software


CASH $ 3,000 for 3 winning teams

($1,000 each team of the 3 highlighted categories)


Mars City PowerLab Workshop

Mars City Science Retreat & Mentorship program,

Fall 2018 in Los Angeles:

Including visits to prestigious, pioneering, Aerospace Companies,

(Travel and Hotel NOT included).


Connections to the space industries and future career



Silicon Beach, California

  • Black Twitter Icon
  • facebook
  • linkedin