One of our most exciting recent achievements is the New Ellis: A Gate of Promise research project, which won the NSS Gerard K. O'Neill Space Settlement Contest 2023.
1.2. Executive Summary
A tall shiny totem disrupts the barren and rocky landscape, casting a long dark shadow over the valley. In the background, a white spot travels over the horizon, radiating a blue haze. A tiny figure descends slowly on a dark ladder. It’s the first time in history that a human feels extraterrestrial. Feels far from home. Isolated. The rocks are dry, the air is toxic, and the weather unforgiving. And there is no sound other than the static that can be heard through the radio.
July 12, 2029, is a date humanity won’t forget. The date on which a human set foot for the first time on another planet. Since then, Mars has been explored by dozens of humans, but due to planetary distances, the trips were long and costly. Humanity needed a gateway, an easier access to Mars and its resources. It needed a hub for quick access to Mars and an extensive research platform on its orbit. And, in case of an emergency, a lifeboat to assist and save crews fast and reliable.
For generations, people have looked at the stars with wonder and awe, dreaming of exploring the unknown. New Ellis symbolizes humanity’s relentless pursuit of discovery and the frontier of technological advancement. It represents the coming together of the brightest minds, the most innovative technologies, and the unwavering spirit of exploration. For those who step onto its decks, New Ellis is a beacon of hope, a symbol of humanity’s resilience, and a glimpse into our future as an interplanetary species. For the brave souls who venture to Mars, New Ellis is a lifesaving refuge, a place of safety and comfort amid the harsh and unforgiving Martian environment. In times of crisis, it is a rapid response platform, ready to launch rescue missions and ensure the survival of the Martian pioneers. Nevertheless, New Ellis is not just a waystation for humanity’s journey to Mars. It is a hub for scientific discovery and technological innovation, a place where humanity’s reach extends beyond our home planet and where we can dream of a future where the confines of our own world do not limit us.
The Round Torus is the main component of New Ellis and serves mainly as a human habitat. It contains an inflatable torus called Space Lifebelt, the main structural piece of the station.
The Elevator Structural Modules (ESMs) are key components for the structural and functional purposes of the station. They integrate the elevators connecting the SLB to the Central Hub.
The Platform is the non-rotating structure located along the axis of rotation. It’s composed of The Elevator Hub Module, The Research Laboratory Module, The Command Module, and The Pressurized Cargo Storage Module.
The Spaceport is the rendezvous and docking point of the station.
The Solar Power Collectors, distributed in a flower petal layout, generate power for the electrical systems aboard the station.
Solar balloons allow the station to harness the Sun’s energy and continuously provide 10 MW of power per unit. Sunlight enters the balloon through the transparent hemisphere and is focused by the reflective hemisphere on a boiler. The light’s energy is used to heat water and transform it into steam, which drives the turbine, generating electricity.