Scratch Built Mark Watney the Martian Space Helmet (an Attempt to Make a Replica)




About: I studied Electrical Engineering and a lot of other things. I'm always driven by my passions. Please visit also my Youtube channel.

I entered the Space Contest... please vote!

For this project you need:

cardboard (big box)

duct tape (silver)

electric tape (orange)

glue UHU Por (my favorite)

scissor and, or an utility knife (please be extremely careful when you use these tools)

hacksaw (please be extremely careful when you use it)

white paint (water based)

grey paint (water based) copper tape/stripes (the foil is very expensive)

1 PVC pipe 22mm (length 12/14 cm)

1 clear cylinder that contains the soldering wire (cut in half)

2 corks

LIGHTS (you can skip this step, but adding the LEDs will make this helmet very cool)

2x 5mm white LEDs

2x 10K resistors

1 stripe of white LEDs

1 9V battery PP3

PP3 battery connector

1 switch JST

JST connectors Female/Male, with cables

Soldering on iron station (please be extremely careful when you use it)

I had to build this space helmet for my son. Initially he wanted to modify his BMX helmet, adding a visor and the LEDs. I thought that building a sort of base around the chin, in order to attach it to the BMX helmet would have been perfect, but we were wrong as this sort of helmet looked like an hockey one.

If you check the prices of the PVC domes are generally very expensive (around £30/$43), so after a bit of research I found this cheaper clear dome

but, regrettably is not available anymore.

After a bit of research, I've found this one, which is even cheaper £11.57

Obviously for this project you'll use just the dome without the handle and the stand :-) The dome has a good size and it does the job perfectly. It has also a small hole in the center of it, that keeps the fog away (unless you breath like Darth Vader :-)

Anyway, to build the base around the chin I used 2 stripes of cardboard overlapping and gluing them together.

When I finished this process, I wrapped the base using duct tape (silver), to increase its robustness.

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Step 1: Assembling the "lights" and the Fake Camera

To build this distinctive accessory for this space helmet, I cut in 2 pieces the PVC pipe and the cylinder that normally contains my soldering iron.

After that I painted the parts in white and I close one side of it, using 2 corks I previously painted in grey.

The design that was involving the BMX helmet was horrible, so, considering the base was already made and painted, I decided to go ahead in building a skull cap.

This process was a bit tedious, but as long as you cut some stripes of the right length, trying the fit a few times,

you should be fine. Please be patient!

Please note that I painted in white the base, leaving in silver colour the chin and the posterior part of the helmet.

Step 2: Painting the Skull Cap and Making the Fake Visor

I painted in white the skull cap.

I attached the "lights" and the fake camera, using some velcro.

I put the PVC dome locking it between the chin and the skull cap.

SAFETY FIRST!!! To have a better ventilation of the helmet, you can leave the sides of the dome open

(as shown in the pictures above)

I've also created behind the chin a sort of base for the dome, out of foam for packaging, that later I've covered using silver duct tape.

To make the fake visor, I used the copper tape,

overlapping and cutting the stripes, until I've reached a proper shape.

Be sure that you are covering a part of the dome with the copper, to simulate better the effect of having a sort of "retracted lens".

After I printed a NASA logo and I've attached to it.

Step 3: Final Touches

SAFETY FIRST!!! To have a better ventilation of the helmet, you can leave the sides of the dome open
(as shown in the pictures above)

Using the orange electric tape, I covered all the edges of the helmet and

I've also made all the letters that compose the name of the spaceship (ARES III).

I printed a picture of the patch of the mission, attaching to it to one of the sides of the helmet.

As you can see in the picture my son has gone even further, building his own portable life support system

(using a small cardboard box, the packaging for eggs, 2 cardboard cylinders of the kitchen paper and 2 shoulder straps of an old backpack).

Step 4: Working Lights Aka 2 LEDs Plus the LED Stripe and the JST Switch

This is the most complicated part of the project.

You have to solder 2x 10K resistors to each positive edge of the LEDs and 4 electric wires (2 each, 2 positives and negatives) checking always the polarity of it:

keep in mind that the anode is the small part and it's positive + and the catode has the bigger part and it's negative -.

After that, you can connect in parallel the 4 cables (positive with positive and negative with negative).

You can now insert the LEDs and the wires inside of the PVC cylinders, making a 5/6mm hole inside the cork (each sides). Make also 2 holes in the skull cap of the helmet to slide the cables inside of them.

When you have done this step, you have to connect the wires of the LED stripe (checking again the polarity).

You can now solder the 6 edges (3 positive and 3 negative) of the cable to the JST female connector.

Attach the LED stripe to the bottom of the dome, using its own adhesive.

Solder the PP3 wires (positive and negative) to the JST male connector (checking again polarity).

The JST switch has 1 female and 1 male connector. Attach one of those to the LEDs (female) and the other one to the battery (male).

Cut a small square on one side of the helmet, to attach the switch.

Attach also some adhesive velcro to the battery, so it will be easy to replace it.

Safety first!!!

Insulate all the electric wires with some duct tape (as I did).

Step 5: Congratulations... Now You Can Survive on Mars for (at Least) 568 Sols!

I added some foam for packaging (properly cut), to make the helmet more comfortable.

Mars... here I come! :-)

Space Contest 2016

Runner Up in the
Space Contest 2016



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    19 Discussions


    3 years ago

    that is one cool helmet my friend. where does one get a clear dome like that?

    4 replies

    3 years ago

    Congratulations on your Runner Up finish!


    3 years ago

    That looks like the real thing I love it

    1 reply
    RC Lover sanLoki-mk

    Reply 3 years ago

    Well, it's not a perfect replica, but it gives you the idea :-)


    3 years ago

    Nice work! And you kept the materials and methods accessible. Voted for it.

    1 reply

    3 years ago

    OHMYGOD you have no idea how long I have been looking for this! I'm definitely making it!


    3 years ago

    as a paper craft artist, i give you a thumb up for beginning in this trade

    1 reply

    3 years ago

    Very Amazing


    3 years ago

    Love this instructable. Going to build one. Voted!

    1 reply