Chemistry students at Carnegie Mellon and ITESM collaborate to help NASA and IMP design a next-generation fuel system for a mission to Mars.

Problem Description

Physics Report

Chemistry Report

Communications Memo


Virtual Laboratory

Orbital Simulator

Download Launch Simulator

Welcome to Mission Critical Chemistry, where students at Carnegie Mellon and ITESM collaborate in teams to develop a next-generation fuel system for a mission to Mars.

NASA has recently developed a set of powerful reductants, and IMP has developed a set of powerful oxidants. The goal of this mission is to identify a reductant/oxidant pair that can serve as a fuel for a Mars mission.  Neither CMU nor ITESM has all of the information needed to solve the problem, and for international security reasons, these components can not change hands. You must work with your international colleagues to design experiments to solve the mission, as explained in the Problem Description to the left. Below you will find guidelines and objectives to complete:

  • Familiarize yourself with your task and proper protocols required for this activity. Start by reading the problem description and communications memo.

  • After that, send an email to your international colleagues following the guidelines in the communications memo.

  • Your next step is to characterize your fuels. To do this, determine the enthalpy of reaction between your three fuels and the standard oxidant. You will be using the Virtual Lab for this step of the activity and should read the chemistry report before beginning in the virtual lab.

Then we'll meet again to determine the flight parameters and launch the rocket.

If at any point you need help, send us an

©2000-2013, The ChemCollective Last Modified: 10.15.2013