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#301 2022-05-04 09:21:27

From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 2,331

Re: Internal combustion engines for Mars

tahanson43206 wrote:

For Calliban re radiator ...

At 700°C, that radiator would need to be 2.5 x 2.5m, ignoring conduction losses into the vehicle.

Please add detail ... we only (appear to) have 2 dimensions given in the specification.

I'm assuming there are pipes into which the sodium flows, separated by sections of flat metal.

Detail: between episodes, the sodium will solidify in the radiator pipes.  It this intended to be a one-time-usage emergency backup?

If so, would maintenance / remanufacturing consist of melting the entire device down and separating the elements for re-use?

I like the automatic safety feature for the base station.  It would (of course) not be available to the mobile units.


We need a design that assures that fuel cladding remains intact following any reasonably foreseeable malfunction.  Otherwise, a malfunction could leave us with a toxic mess to clear up.  This could be provided by liquid sodium flowing through a radiator driven by natural circulation.  If the cooling circuit opens by melting plugs, then you have a passive activation that would occur without any operator action.  It would be irreversible and would write off the asset, but would maintain the core intact.

No operator being present for refilling is a bit of a problem.  Maybe propellant line insertion could be automated?

"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."


#302 2022-05-04 09:50:49

Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 12,701

Re: Internal combustion engines for Mars

For Calliban re #301

Thanks for expanding a bit on your basic ideas!

The automation of a delivery hose is well under way on Earth.  Commercial offerings are definitely in discussion.

For SpaceNut ... please keep a watch for announcements along those lines.  Science Fiction has had them for decades, and I'm not sure what I am thinking about is from science fiction or advertising of actual products.

I ** think ** Tesla has plans for automated plug capability, and a few beta sites may exist.  i'm just not sure.

In any case, it is definitely needed for the Mars mining operation.

The same is true for GW Johnson's on-orbit refueling system.

GW, like you, started from an assumption there would be people on the scene, because that it how it has always been done, but we are now in the age of remote manipulation, and have been for several decades in satellite designs.



#303 2022-05-04 20:14:33

From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 27,167

Re: Internal combustion engines for Mars

I sort of described its use as well as the turbine for the equipment for the 1 meter regolith water gathering as calliban had suggested that the air intake might make use of a turbine to get a greater level of co2 gathered.

Lets we forget the earth engines are of all different cylinder sizes so sizing of a mars engine will work the same in the design of power to make use of in the variety of uses that we will have,

The cylinder is 1 bar of air an the ration of that air is related to 14.7 psi so we are using 14.7 parts to 1 part fuel in the cylinder. So while we are making use of high pressure tanks for the mars gasses we are only still looking to send in a near 1 bar solution for creating rotation power whether its by a turbine of a piston makes little difference in the end.

As far as radiators we have the KRUSTY design which will work, I gave a refrigerators style but we can also use a flat plate solar collector as the electronic heat-sink design as well.

The flat plate we would alter as we do not need the glass and we can use thinner metal with holes in it to make the plate radiate the heat that enters through the tubing.



#304 2022-07-12 06:40:41

Registered: 2006-03-23
Posts: 4,796

Re: Internal combustion engines for Mars

MIT design for Mars propellant production trucks wins NASA competition … n_999.html

Using the latest technologies currently available, it takes over 25,000 tons of rocket hardware and propellant to land 50 tons of anything on the planet Mars. So, for NASA's first crewed mission to Mars, it will be critical to learn how to harvest the red planet's local resources in order to "live off the land" sustainably.

On June 24, NASA announced that an MIT team received first place in the annual Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts - Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) competition for their in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) design that produces propellant on Mars from local resources instead of bringing it from Earth.

Their project "Bipropellant All-in-one In-situ Resource Utilization Truck and Mobile Autonomous Reactor Generating Electricity" (BART and MARGE) describes a system where pairs of BART and MARGE travel around Mars in tandem; BART handles all aspects of production, storage, and distribution of propellant, while MARGE provides power for the operation. After presenting their concept to a panel of NASA experts and aerospace industry leaders at the RASC-AL Forum in June, the team took first place overall at the competition and was also recognized as "Best in Theme."

"Previous ISRU concepts utilized several different small rovers and a fixed central plant, but MIT's BART and MARGE concept is composed of essentially just two types of fully mobile, integrated large trucks with no central plant," says Chloe Gentgen, PhD candidate in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AeroAstro) who served as team lead for the project. "The absence of a central plant enables easy scalability of the architecture, and being fully mobile and integrated, our system has the flexibility to produce propellant wherever the best ice reserves can be found and then deliver it wherever it is needed."

Gentgen led an interdisciplinary group of undergraduate and graduate students from MIT, including Guillem Casadesus Vila, a visiting undergraduate student in AeroAstro from the Centre de Formacio Interdisciplinaria Superior at the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya; Madelyn Hoying, a PhD candidate in the Medical Engineering and Medical Physics program within the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology; AeroAstro alum Jayaprakash Kambhampaty '22, rising MIT senior Mindy Long of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS); rising sophomore Laasya Nagareddy of the Department of Mathematics; rising junior John Posada of AeroAstro; and rising sophomore Marina Ten Have of EECS.

The team was formed last September when interested students joined the project. AeroAstro PhD candidate George Lordos, who founded the MIT Space Resources Workshop and who has led or advised all MIT NASA competition teams since 2017, was a mentor for the project team. Jeffrey Hoffman, professor of the practice in AeroAstro; and Olivier de Weck, Apollo Program Professor and professor of astronautics and engineering systems in AeroAstro, served as faculty advisors.

"One year ago, the MOXIE experiment led by Dr. Michael Hecht and our team's advisor, Professor Jeffrey Hoffman, produced the first oxygen on Mars. Today, we are on the cusp of orbital test flights that will bring us closer to the first human mission to Mars," says Lordos.

"As humans venture to other worlds, finding and utilizing local water and carbon resources will be indispensable for sustainable exploration of the solar system, so the objective of our MIT team's concept is an exciting and topical technology."

The MIT team addressed the RASC-AL theme "Mars Water-based ISRU Architecture," which required delivering the target 50 tons of propellant at the end of each year and the ability to operate for at least five years without human maintenance. A few other constraints were placed, chief among them that teams could rely on one or more landings of 45 tons of mass and 300 cubic meters of volume on Mars, leaving it to university teams to propose an architecture, budget, and a flight schedule to support their mission.

They developed a comprehensive Mars mission architecture and defined a comprehensive concept of operations, from a precursor ice scouting and technology demonstration mission in 2031 to the main propellant production, storage, and delivery mission in 2036. BART is an end-to-end "ice-to-propellant" system that gathers water from Martian subsurface ice and extracts carbon dioxide from the red planet's atmosphere to synthesize liquid methane and liquid oxygen bipropellant. These are then stored onboard at cryogenic temperatures until delivery directly into a rocket's propellant tanks.

BART is accompanied by MARGE, a 40 kilowatt electric mobile nuclear reactor based on NASA's Kilopower Reactor Using Stirling Technology project (KRUSTY, which also inspired the MIT team's name) that generates power from nuclear fission to support long-duration operations on distant planets.

For the team's proposed mission, four tandems of BART and MARGEs will roam the region known as Arcadia Planitia at the mid-northern latitudes of Mars following a prospecting rover named LISA (Locating Ice Scouting Assistant) in search of accessible ice to use for propellant production. The entire system has 100 tons of storage capacity and can produce 156 tons per year, against a demand of 50 tons per year, and requires only three landings.

Another discussion on fuel
and building large smelting production
Combustion engines ... - ... on Titan and Mars

Last edited by Mars_B4_Moon (2022-07-12 06:42:02)


#305 2022-07-12 17:31:26

From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 27,167

Re: Internal combustion engines for Mars

thanks for the post on the use of a 40kwe version of a mobile reactor and drilling water to fuel units as this needs to go in a few more topics.


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