TrueInspire Mars

An enthusiastic team of First Lego League 2018-19

Project: Space Station Hygiene System


Hygiene problem: How can we deal with body waste such as poop and urine without polluting the surrounding environment on Mars / in the space?


Our group designed a Bio-degrade planting system


– Biomass

– Water recycling – This is done on the ISS (good point!)

– Growing plants for food – Done as an experiment on the ISS.

– Have a building that is for storing poop and urine. All the bacteria will die because of the temperatures on Mars and the waste will decompose into soil for the plants. If it is in space, the bacteria will die but it will be a better idea to protect the waste from radiation to avoid the soil you give to plants to be radioactive.

-Change waste to energy.-Done on earth


– Problems with existing or potential problems in the space or on Mars

– Human waste

– Lack of fresh food

– Lack of water

– The Psychology of Entertainment

– Biomass solution(on earth) with illustrations

Biomass is waste material from plants or animals that is not used for food or feed; it can be waste from farming (like wheat stalks) or horticulture (yard waste), food processing (like corn cobs), animal farming (manure rich in nitrogen and phosphorus), or human waste from sewage plants. It is used in various industrial processes, like energy production or as raw materials for manufacturing chemicals. Burning biomass releases carbon emissions, but has been classed as a renewable energy source in the EU and UN legal frameworks, because plant stocks can be replaced with new growth. Biomass most often refers to an energy source; biomass can either be used directly via combustion to produce heat, or indirectly after converting it to various forms of biofuel. Conversion of biomass to biofuel can be achieved by different methods which are broadly classified into thermal, chemical, and biochemical. Some chemical constituents of plant biomass include lignins, cellulose, and hemicellulose.. Biomass also includes plant or animal matter that can be converted into fibers or other industrial chemicals, including biofuels. Biomass can be converted to other usable forms of energy like methane gas or transportation fuels like ethanol and biodiesel. Rotting garbage, and agricultural and human waste, all release methane gas, also called landfill gas or biogas. Crops such as corn and sugarcane can be fermented to produce the transportation fuel ethanol. Biodiesel, another transportation fuel, can be produced from leftover food products like vegetable oils and animal fats.

– Turning sewage water into renewable gas.

Wastewater treatment plants use a lot of energy and create greenhouse gas emissions. They also have the potential to be sources of renewable energy for the region. Four of the region’s wastewater treatment plants use sewage to generate energy on site. The Annacis Island and Iona Island treatment plants produce both heat and electricity (known as “co-generation”) on site, while the Lion’s Gate and Lulu Island treatment plants produce heat. This energy is then used to help operate the wastewater treatment plants. By generating energy on site, Metro Vancouver’s treatment plants reduce their operating costs, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

How it works

The wastewater treatment plants use anaerobic digestion to generate heat and electricity on site. During anaerobic digestion, microorganisms break down organic materials from wastewater. The methane gas produced from this process is then used to generate heat and electricity that is used in plant operations.’

Current projects to turn waste into energy

– A pilot project at the Annacis Island wastewater treatment plant is testing how to use energy-rich waste from sources like food processing and restaurant grease to generate heat and electricity. This energy could then be used by the treatment plant to help meet its energy needs.

– The Lulu Island wastewater treatment plant is testing technologies that will create more biomethane from its treatment processes. The biomethane will eventually be sold to Fortis BC, providing additional energy for the region.                                           

-Water recycling system(in spaceship or base on Mars) with illustrations (Eleanor)

– Growing plants system in a confined space with illustrations.

Growing crops will be essential someday if astronauts are to go to another planet like Mars and colonize it  or stay on the moon for long periods of time. It would also be essential on the ISS. The amount of food required to go to Mars would make the rocket too heavy for takeoff and the rations they do bring will lose nutrients and taste. So astronauts will need a food source that can reproduce, and extra nutrients. They’ll also require ways to make more oxygen, recycle waste, and help them with depression. Space gardens can, theoretically, help accomplish all of that.

So NASA started Veggie, which is an experiment, aboard the space station and whose ultimate mission is to provide crews with a long-term source of food. Veggie is also helping researchers figure out how radiation and lack of gravity affect plants, how much water is Goldilocks-good, and how to deal with deplorables like mold. Just as important, scientists are learning how much work astronauts have to put in, how much work they want to put in, and how plants nourish their brains as well as their bodies.

– How poop and urine were treated on earth.

Every day, people visit the toilet, which is a lot of waste. Mixed with water, these wastes are known as sewage. Because they host germs, they can’t just be left lying around. If they taint the water people use for eating, drinking and bathing, those germs can spread disease. So cleaning up the daily production of human wastes is an important part of keeping people health.

– Identify benefits with above solutions.

Solution that humans had use to solve waste problems:

Solution 1: People in Bristol, England, power the local bus from their trips to the toilet.

Solution 2: In the United States, some airlines have begun using farm manure as an eco-friendly jet fuel.

Solution 3: South Korea has a water treatment plant that uses human wastes to power itself. And people have even used pee to charge up a cell phone.


For poop: Maybe if we can combine compost with our body waste, we can have worms in it to make soil for the plants to grow. Worms can also kill off bacteria other than just making soil, which will come in handy when the poop is in space

For urine: Perhaps there can be a wide tube connecting from the toilet to a bucket. The bucket will be placed in a tank so incase of a overflow, it won’t drip out of the bucket and cause a slippery situation. Then, the bucket can be removed for the second progress, which is to turn it into usable water. Scientists from a Belgian university have built a machine that can turn urine into usable water, it is also ran by solar power, which will match the habitation of the space station.   

In mars, NASA would burn the waste to create fertilizer so they can plants seeds for they to eat when they are flying on a long-duration mission.

water recycling plan(on earth) is a plan that change sewage to edible water. You have to flush the dirty water to a wastewater treatment plan, it will go through the first step called bar screens to get rid of large items in the sewage, following the path, it will run into a grit chamber(horizontal, aerated, vortex) that can remove sand and rocks, the next step is to use clarifiers to disinfection, they will use chemical or chlorine to kill any remaining bacteria, now 85% of the water are clean and it’s safe to drink.It will take about 24-36 hours to finish the whole plan.

– Features of proposed space station improves system, in aspects of:

  • Technologies(what kinds of technologies should our system includes)
  • Functionalities(what features the system has)
  • Components(please refer to above features and design components of the system)
  • Space / Volume (Rooms / Size that required)
  • Location (in relates to Space Craft / Station / Above or Underground etc)
  • Materials used (please refer to technologies above)


Our team, True-Inspire is a 10 member coding team that has ages ranging from 9-12. Our team founded when after we all got very exceptional at coding and all wanted a challenge to test our programming skills. Since we have 10 members on the team, we all have different roles such as coder, mechanic, or designer. The atmosphere that we have in the room is very lighthearted, familiar, and concentrated. It is lighthearted because we don’t let the pressure get to us and we don’t put the competition results first but the helpfulness and the respect of our teammates and opponents. For example, if our opponents are missing a wheel and we have an extra wheel we will surely give it to them even if it means risking a top three performance. In the practice sessions, we will joke around to keep a very friendly and seriousness atmosphere.

Unlike some other teams, we will not let the spirit of competition interfere with our performance. In our team, we still keep the fun of coding and the joy of it. Even though we are laid-back, we are still very focused and we strive for excellence. Another thing that helps us is that we are friends in the coding room and not in it. We share similar hobbies such as swimming and basketball and because of this, it is easier to communicate and present our ideas and thoughts with each other. We want to win especially after last time when we didn’t even get the opportunity to present our code.

Our organization works very quickly and accurately and we keep on trying until we succeed. Especially since half of the members on our team competitively swim and we don’t ever take failure as an option. We can still be joking around and still be performing our best and coding well. One of our strengths is that we can think of a great idea and still execute it well.

The reason for this is because we plan out the idea and make a blueprint of it to make it easier to perform. In one instance, when we were planning out the design for our robot (Tanky 3) we drew up a picture of it should look like and what all the different parts are and where we should place them.

Another thing that our team does well is that the coders don’t just sit on the chair in front of the MacBook, but that they actually get up and observe the field and see the contraptions and the missions they have to complete. We also test our code very often because we learn from our mistakes. And with the code not being right and it’s repeatedly not performing well, we think of why it isn’t doing the mission, not how we can fix it. This piece of writing shows the atmosphere of when we work together as friends and the work ethic that we have in the competition.

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