Interim Report

Team Number: 097
School Name: Sandia Preparatory School
Area of Science: Aerodynamic Engineering
Project Title: Heat Shield and Entry Angle of Martian Probe
Project Abstract: http://mode.lanl.k12.nm.us/97.98/abstracts/097.html
Interim Report: http://mode.lanl.k12.nm.us/97.98/interims/097.html
Final Report: http://mode.lanl.k12.nm.us/97.98/finalreports/097/finalreport.html

Our project is to optimize the design and trajectory of a space probe designed to fly to Mars. The way we have decided to solve this problem is by setting up five subroutines that deal with the following: Input, Aerodynamics, Trajectory, Heat Transfer, and Interpolating. Our programming language of choice is C++, since we are most familiar with that language. We have only thoroughly discussed the Interpolating subroutine, which will approximate values from known values. For example, we know what the density of air is at sea level (0 feet) and at 16,000 feet. If we wanted to know the density of air at 10,000 feet, we would interpolate the value using this Interpolating subroutine. The number we receive will only be an approximation, but will be accurate enough for this project. The Input subroutine will be a subroutine dealing with the information the program will be asked to return. For example, if density of air at 30,000 feet was needed, the Input subroutine would call the Interpolating subroutine and ask for the density of air at 30,000 feet. The Aerodynamics subroutine will deal with all the aerodynamic equations and conversions needed for this project. For example, the drag equation, which is Drag = 1/2 * density * velocity * velocity * surface area * drag coefficient, will be contained in this subroutine and will be called when needed. The Trajectory subroutine, the most important subroutine, will deal with the different trajectories our vehicle may experience, the result of those trajectories, and finding the optimum trajectory for entering Mars' atmosphere. If our trajectory is incorrect, our vehicle will not survive. This subroutine, in conjunction with the other subroutines, will determine how successful our vehicle will be in entering the Martian atmosphere. Our final subroutine will be our Heat Transfer subroutine. Here we will discover the immense temperatures our probe will experience upon landing on Mars and will find out ways to minimize these severe temperatures, reaching 5000 degrees F and above. The Heat Transfer and Aerodynamics subroutines will be our last subroutines, as we can make them as detailed as we want to, determined mostly by the amount of time left when we begin those subroutines.

Thus far our progress is satisfactory. We haven't been speed demons, but we will definitely be ready to turn in a professional and impressive Final Report and Poster when the time arrives. Using the program described above, we plan on receiving great data from the supercomputer and should be able to use that data to create the ideal probe. Our team has been cooperative to each other and our advisors are fantastic at guiding us and giving us aerodynamic information. I feel confident that our project will be finished and will be very successful. Mars, here we come!

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New Mexico High School Supercomputing Challenge