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A rational design for a personnel airlock

  1. Apr 29, 2016 #1
    In The Martian we see airlocks that an SUV would fit into. Wastes air every time it's opened, even if pumped down.

    I suggest we make an airlock that clamshells down on a space suit and leaves the minimum amount of room between suit and lock for air to be reclaimed from. You could have banks of these is you needed to get a lot of people out quickly. And you could have all kinds of drama around this system, priorities, etc., of use, especially if you just had one.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 30, 2016 #2


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    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    This concept is called Suitport.

    You can avoid wasting air by pumping the air out, but that needs large pumps.

    Worse than the huge airlocks is the "repair" that occurs later in the movie...
  4. Apr 30, 2016 #3
    In my humble opinion, banks of these is not a viable solution.

    Essentially, this would be a lot of openings to the outside, imho just more chances for catastrophic failures ala decompression because of xyz etc etc
  5. Apr 30, 2016 #4
    So put the armor behind the airlocks. Troop marches into a bay, doors close, the troops cycle through the airlocks. You could have the armor be the deck. Lower it, the personnel move onto it, it returns to position and the troops cycle out through the clamshell locks.

    I agree that no solution is perfect, but airlocks like we see on Hermes are good for freight, not egress by individuals. The airlocks on the Hab are hugely wasteful in space, but the clamshell individual locks could be built into the sides of those airlocks and there would be less air to be pumped out before a crewman needed to get out to work on urgent repairs, etc. Cycling large volumes of air in and out would stress the structure, as Mr. Watney demonstrated.
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