NASA's RASC-AL program pushes teams of students around the world to develop revolutionary new concepts, based off several given themes. Purdue's chosen theme is artificial gravity: specifically, the artificial gravity likely required for any future extensive space missions. Given a baseline habitat developed by a team of NASA engineers, Purdue's design team had two main requirements: transform the habitat to allow for simulated gravity, and maintain the design's mass as close to the original design as possible.
The result was the MJOLNIR proposal (Martian Joyride: an Orbital Living Nexus and Interplanetary Residence), a split-habitat, rotating spacecraft design utilizing advances in new structural technologies to maintain mass limitations while also fulfilling the mission requirements. Once launched, astronauts will live and work in a constant 0.4G, to better prepare them for the Martian mission to come.
Purdue's initial design proposal has made it through round 1 of the competition, and now the work continues to adapt and improve the design.