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#1 2019-12-12 07:00:08

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,792

Energy for Mars

:::ENERGY OVERVIEW:::

We discuss these topics a lot - thought it would be useful to undertake an overview:

PHOTOVOLTAIC POWER

Early Missions? Yes

Longer term?   Yes (but will require large land area)

Technology currently available?  Yes

Flexible in Use? Yes - especially thin film PV. 

Other comments Mars would be a good candidate for solar power satellites to beam power to the surface but this technology is not yet available.

NUCLEAR POWER

Early Missions? Yes (but there may be issues over deployment and see technology).

Longer term?   Yes (but may require importation of parts and fuel)

Technology currently available?  Yes and no - early mission small scale nuclear power facilities are not yet available.

Flexible in Use? Not very flexible. Will require careful planning re deployment and/or construction.

Other comments   Nuclear power could be very effective in terraformation - an energy source for production of powerful greenhouse gases on a huge scale.

METHANE AND OXYGEN COMBUSTION

Early Missions? Yes

Longer term?   Yes

Technology currently available?  Yes (although methane only machines are of course the rule on Earth, oxygen rich air being freely available)

Flexible in Use? Yes - small generators can be transported with ease (about 250-500 kgs for 10 Kwes). However large scale storage of methane and oxygen will be challenging.

Other comments   Until rich methane sources on Mars are identified and exploited, the methane will have to be manufactured. Oxygen will have to be separated out from water via electrolysis. However, Space X missions are based on Mars-ISRU manufacture of methane and oxygen as rocket fuel/propellant so part of that production can be diverted to energy storage for future electricity generation.  More a storage technology than a secure energy source.

CO2 SUBLIMATION ENGINE

Early Missions? No. Settlements will need to be established before this technology can be applied. 

Longer term?   Yes.

Technology currently available?  Works like a steam engine, in building up pressure of gas that is then released to power a generator. It is in its initial stages of development. Appears to work in theory,providing a significant energy gain. Would need to identify the right sites where CO2 ice can be found and utilised, with natural heating, perhaps on the day night cycle can be made use of.

Flexible in Use? Probably not suitable in all locations (although maybe ice could be transported over long distances in purpose built vehicles?).

Other comments One to watch I would say. Could become a v important technology at a future date.

WIND POWER

Early Missions? No.   

Longer term?   Yes.

Technology currently available?  Yes. May require adaptation for Mars. Wind force is v. low on Mars.

Flexible in Use? Could be flexible at lower power output.

Other comments   Might be useful as emergency power back up in a dust storm but unlikely ever to be as important on Mars as on Earth.

Does anyone want to comment on/amend the above? Or complete further tables for bio fuels, geothermal, solar heating, metal fuels etc


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#2 2019-12-12 18:30:54

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,565

Re: Energy for Mars

One might edit the initial post and add in the topic links to redirect discusion back to them rather than in this topic.
Once you say, I would sticky the topic so that its easier to find in the folder as it would always be on the first page in the topic folder.

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