BART and MARGE go to Mars: MIT wins NASA competition with vehicle design named after The Simpsons


The prestigious MIT won the NASA competition for Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts (RASC-AL), with its design of fuel vehicles on Mars. The most curious: the names of the trucks, a tribute to The Simpsons.

They are called BART and MARGE, after the eldest son and mother of the most beloved family in Springfield. are the acronyms of Bipropellant All-in-one In Situ Resource Utilization Truck (Bi-propellant all-in-one on-site resource utilization truck) and Mobile Autonomous Reactor Generating Electricity (Autonomous Mobile Electricity Generator Reactor).

The subject of RASC-AL was ISRU Architecture based on the water of Mars, which required the delivery of 50 tons of propellant at the end of each year, and the ability to operate for at least five years without human maintenance.

This is how BART and MARGE will work according to the MIT project for NASA on Mars

Chloé Gentgen, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, led the project. “MIT’s BART and MARGE concept is essentially made up of just two types of fully mobile, integrated large trucks with no central plant,” he said in a statement from MIT.

BART and MARGE will jointly travel to the red planet: BART handles all aspects of propellant production, storage and distribution; and MARGE, a 40-kilowatt mobile nuclear reactor, will provide power for the operation.

Among the restrictions imposed by NASA, it stands out that teams could rely on one or more landings of 45 tons in mass and 300 cubic meters in volume on Mars, leaving it to college teams to come up with an architecture, budget, and flight schedule for their mission.

“The absence of a central plant,” emphasizes Gentgen, “allows easy scalability of the architecture and, being completely mobile and integrated, our system has the flexibility to produce propellant where the best ice reserves can be found and then deliver it where be necessary”.

The success of The Simpsons and the reference for pop culture

The Simpson is one of the most successful series in television history, launched as its own program in the late 1980s by Matt Groening. It tells the story of an eccentric family in the city of Springfield, made up of Homer and Marge Simpson, Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson.

It is currently broadcast on Disney Plus for Latin America, and its old chapters can be found on Star Plus.

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