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#101 2018-03-02 17:17:25

Antius
Member
From: Cumbria, UK
Registered: 2007-05-22
Posts: 1,003

Re: Power generation on Mars

louis wrote:

I agree with Terraformer that the energy requirements of Mars residents will be pretty high - certainly higher than 500 Watts per person.  Mining, transport, agriculture and life support are going to be significant consumption factors.

You have said pretty much the opposite in past discussions - that the energy requirements of a Martian settlement would be quite modest and we don't need heavy investment in this area.  So which is it?

louis wrote:

  Also, are you really going to have a community of 100,000 dependent on one energy source?  If the energy source fails, you have a catastrophe on your hands. Won't you need back up - possibly a doubling of your tonnage immediately.

Not really what I was saying.  Maybe we will need a lot more than 500W, that was an example of how to meet a bare minimum.  At 500W per person, 1 x 50MWe nuclear power source would meet the requirements of 100,000 people.  But in a city of 1 million there would be 10.  So there is never really an issue with redundancy.  Having more redundancy would mean having more power.  If it takes 1 reactor to meet life support and subsistence requirements of a base, then the second is unlikely to sit idle.  It would be used to support ore processing, exploration, manufacturing and exploration.  In the event of failure, these operations could be scaled back until repairs are made.

Last edited by Antius (2018-03-02 17:19:08)

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#102 2018-03-03 07:13:12

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 3,216

Re: Power generation on Mars

Antius wrote:
louis wrote:

I agree with Terraformer that the energy requirements of Mars residents will be pretty high - certainly higher than 500 Watts per person.  Mining, transport, agriculture and life support are going to be significant consumption factors.

You have said pretty much the opposite in past discussions - that the energy requirements of a Martian settlement would be quite modest and we don't need heavy investment in this area.  So which is it?

You're are probably misinterpreting my comments on different scenarios. I would say for Mission One the energy requirement could be modest: the reason being that you don't need on Mission One to build your industrial infrastructure to a significant degree. It would be more about surveying, prospecting and conducting experiments.  I doubt we would be doing much agriculture on Mission One either (maybe just a "salad bar" hydroponic facility).

Of course, there is the issue of propellant production. My own preferred approach from a few years back involved more an Apollo style ascent vehicle. Clearly, a Musk/Space X mission architecture requires a significant energy input to produce the propellant.

Once the colony starts producing its own food and building its mining and industrial infrastructure I think it will need above average needs (particularly for indoor artificially-lit agriculture). However, on the other side of the equation, the colonists (on a per capita basis) will not require much if any energy for space heating, for running private cars, for going on holiday, for lawn mowing and for an array of manufactured goods (paper, furniture, pianos, bikes, carpets, curtains and so on).  So it's a complex equation. My own view is that the Mars colony will be growing at a prodigious rate and so its per capita energy requirement for infrastructure (construction, life support, mining, industry, transport and indoor agriculture) will place it well above the US average energy use.

On a daily cycle, energy requirements will fluctuate significantly as well. At night energy requirements could be v. minimal if you produce all your hot water for heating and hygiene during the day and confine most industrial actiivities to day time.   Likewise in an emergency situation your energy production requirements could be brought down to a minimum.

Antius wrote:

 

louis wrote:

  Also, are you really going to have a community of 100,000 dependent on one energy source?  If the energy source fails, you have a catastrophe on your hands. Won't you need back up - possibly a doubling of your tonnage immediately.

Not really what I was saying.  Maybe we will need a lot more than 500W, that was an example of how to meet a bare minimum.  At 500W per person, 1 x 50MWe nuclear power source would meet the requirements of 100,000 people.  But in a city of 1 million there would be 10.  So there is never really an issue with redundancy.  Having more redundancy would mean having more power.  If it takes 1 reactor to meet life support and subsistence requirements of a base, then the second is unlikely to sit idle.  It would be used to support ore processing, exploration, manufacturing and exploration.  In the event of failure, these operations could be scaled back until repairs are made.

True, if you have a million people, but you appear to accept that for 100,000 people you would need two. I would certainly think it unlikely that the first million people on Mars would all be squeezed into one spot in any case. There would like be four or five major settlements and tens of smaller settlements. Each would require a flexible element of redundancy.


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

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#103 2018-04-22 08:52:23

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 11,540

Re: Power generation on Mars

Being about to build power once we have enough power to survive on is key to mars growth.

https://www.dangerouslaboratories.org/index.html

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#104 2018-04-22 18:23:27

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 11,540

Re: Power generation on Mars

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#105 2018-04-23 17:59:17

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 3,216

Re: Power generation on Mars

Well are there are any options apart from solar power (PV or solar reflective technology) and nuclear power?

Methane capture perhaps (but you still need to isolate oxygen to get the burn).   Lots of metals can also be burned with oxygen, so releasing energy.

You might be able to create hydropower off the right glacier, using solar reflectors to melt the glacial ice and then feed it to a hydroelectric turbine system.  That might work, but it's clearly not viable for an early mission.

Windpower doesn't seem to offer much on Mars.

Anything else?


SpaceNut wrote:

Being about to build power once we have enough power to survive on is key to mars growth.

https://www.dangerouslaboratories.org/index.html


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

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#106 2018-04-23 21:29:05

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 11,540

Re: Power generation on Mars

Well yes there are a few more and a quick google did confirm that therre is the possibility of How energy from dry ice could power human colonies on Mars and then again
Why Geothermal Energy Will Be Key To Mars Colonization
There are probably more....

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#107 2018-04-24 11:49:12

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 3,216

Re: Power generation on Mars

Yes, I had forgotten about the potential of CO2 to vapourise and provide the equivalent of a steam engine...but I am a bit puzzled (no doubt partly because  my understanding of the science is limited). I had always thought with say a coal-fired steam engine, you weren't getting any more energy out of the system when you turned water into steam, you were simply using energy to create a pressure phenomenon. The article makes it sounds like you are actually getting additional energy from CO2 sublimation itself...What is the science here?  If we use x to heat the CO2 do we get x plus out of the system?  Because I thought with steam engines you put in x and get x minus out as useful energy either to work a machine or power a generator. If the CO2 heat engine is also producing x minus, then although it might be useful, it isn't really providing additional energy.

Geothermal may well yield useful results on Mars but I guess that is for a later development phase as the infrastructure requires a pretty big investment of labour and materials and drilling on Mars is probably harder than on Earth. 

SpaceNut wrote:

Well yes there are a few more and a quick google did confirm that therre is the possibility of How energy from dry ice could power human colonies on Mars and then again
Why Geothermal Energy Will Be Key To Mars Colonization
There are probably more....


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

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#108 2018-04-24 20:22:15

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 11,540

Re: Power generation on Mars

The CO2 steam engine is always going to be less energy than what we get from the solar heating side of the equation while we are mining the CO2 to place into a chamber to be filled such that under expansion the energy is released to move the turbine to make the energy.  Now make the chamber such that after it exits the turbine that it can go through another phase change to make more dry ice from the same source which was loaded into the chamber the day before. Think stil for the cooling...

Categorization of Nuclear Power Generation Power Sources included is International Lunar Conference 2005 Chemical Power Generation, Solar Power Generation

WIND POWER FOR A MARS MISSION which talks about ANTARTICA COLD WEATHER WIND TURBINE PROJECT....

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#109 2018-05-13 13:46:16

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 11,540

Re: Power generation on Mars

NASA Space Missions to Get a Boost from Nuclear Energy

kilopower-unit_thumb_thumb.jpg?w=349&h=530

NASA and the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) have successfully demonstrated KiloPower, which is a new nuclear reactor power system that could enable long-duration crewed missions to the Moon, Mars and destinations beyond.

NASA announced the results of the demonstration, called the Kilopower Reactor Using Stirling Technology (KRUSTY) experiment, during a news conference this week at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.

https://www.nasa.gov/centers/glenn/home/index.html

Kilopower is a small, lightweight fission power that uses passive liquid sodium for heat transfer to stirling engines which produce electrical power. The system as tested is capable of providing up to 10 kilowatts of electrical power – enough to run several average households – continuously for at least 10 years. Four Kilopower units would provide enough power to establish an outpost on the moon or Mars. The prototype power system uses a solid, cast uranium powered reactor core. Passive sodium heat pipes transfer reactor heat to high-efficiency Stirling engines, which convert the heat to electricity.

pu-238-production-process_thumb.png?w=611&h=438

The key to successful deep space science missions, beyond the orbit of Mars, is to have enough electrical power to sustain the entire mission over many years powering the science instruments and the transmission of massive amounts of data back to earth.  There is not enough sunlight beyond Mars orbit to meet these needs hence the need for nuclear fission powered electrical systems.

With more new missions to mars we will need more power which is coming from nuclear power sources of plutionium:

NASA made that decision based on projected use of existing stocks of plutonium-238 for upcoming missions, such as the Mars 2020 rover.

Dragonfly, one of the two finalists for the next New Frontiers medium-class planetary science mission, also plans to use a PU-238 radioisotope power system, as well as potential future missions the moon that require nuclear power to operate through the two-week lunar night.

Still, the agency needed to balance mission demands against existing inventory of plutonium and new efforts currently to produce new supplies of the isotope, which should reach a goal of 1.5 kilograms a year by around 2022.

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#110 2018-05-13 14:36:40

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 3,216

Re: Power generation on Mars

I think once Space X have demonstrated a successful PV powered mission, that will be the end of the nuclear power hocus-pocus as far as human missions go. This may be useful for robot missions to the outer solar system.

SpaceNut wrote:

NASA Space Missions to Get a Boost from Nuclear Energy

https://neutronbytes.files.wordpress.co … =349&h=530

NASA and the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) have successfully demonstrated KiloPower, which is a new nuclear reactor power system that could enable long-duration crewed missions to the Moon, Mars and destinations beyond.

NASA announced the results of the demonstration, called the Kilopower Reactor Using Stirling Technology (KRUSTY) experiment, during a news conference this week at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.

https://www.nasa.gov/centers/glenn/home/index.html

Kilopower is a small, lightweight fission power that uses passive liquid sodium for heat transfer to stirling engines which produce electrical power. The system as tested is capable of providing up to 10 kilowatts of electrical power – enough to run several average households – continuously for at least 10 years. Four Kilopower units would provide enough power to establish an outpost on the moon or Mars. The prototype power system uses a solid, cast uranium powered reactor core. Passive sodium heat pipes transfer reactor heat to high-efficiency Stirling engines, which convert the heat to electricity.

https://neutronbytes.files.wordpress.co … =611&h=438

The key to successful deep space science missions, beyond the orbit of Mars, is to have enough electrical power to sustain the entire mission over many years powering the science instruments and the transmission of massive amounts of data back to earth.  There is not enough sunlight beyond Mars orbit to meet these needs hence the need for nuclear fission powered electrical systems.

With more new missions to mars we will need more power which is coming from nuclear power sources of plutionium:

NASA made that decision based on projected use of existing stocks of plutonium-238 for upcoming missions, such as the Mars 2020 rover.

Dragonfly, one of the two finalists for the next New Frontiers medium-class planetary science mission, also plans to use a PU-238 radioisotope power system, as well as potential future missions the moon that require nuclear power to operate through the two-week lunar night.

Still, the agency needed to balance mission demands against existing inventory of plutonium and new efforts currently to produce new supplies of the isotope, which should reach a goal of 1.5 kilograms a year by around 2022.


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

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#111 2018-05-13 19:30:07

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 11,540

Re: Power generation on Mars

Solar on its own will not cut it as the planet is only just so large and the amount of energy per meter is not what we would want it to be for man to have an earth condition under a dome with a just like earth conditions is just not going to happen.

page 7 shows the energy on orbit for distance from the sun https://www.lpi.usra.edu/opag/meetings/ … uchamp.pdf with the levels at each planet being even less on the surface of each....

The panels will reach an upward limit in time and that still will be by covering every in of mars with panels, ao no light under the dome for man to see or feel.

To put mars in perpective take a panel on earth and cover half to start with just the change in distance. Then we would cover some more of what is not covered in order to simulate the dust in the atmosphere blocking the suns rays that reach the surface.
Now try and power the eqiupment with what it will put out even here on earth as thats what we will have on mars from that same square meter of solar cells.

Battery information starts on page 16 of course the voltage converter for charging will have some loss but no more that what we have on earth but we will need to expend energy to keep a battery warm on mars that we do not need to do here on earth.

Mars solar power page 7 has the Atmospheric effects on solar energy

pg 12 Human Mission Studies

The  higher
power  level  makes  high  voltages  desirable  in  order  to  minimize  resistive  losses.  At  the  7-9  mbar  atmospheric
pressure  of  Mars,  voltages  over  roughly  250-350  Volts  results  in  a  Paschen  breakdown of  the  atmosphere,  and
electrostatic discharge. This will have to be taken care of in a design.

not good as wattage of what we need keeps going up....

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#112 2018-05-13 20:30:33

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 3,216

Re: Power generation on Mars

As I recall the energy input is about 40% compared with Earth but for most of the time it's far more consistent given the lack of cloud cover.  Also, because of the way the planet oscillates, solar radiation is more evenly spread out between 0 and 30 degrees. 

Space X are clearly committed to solar power.

I just don't see what the issue is...the first mission can be solar powered.  I could only ever see a case for nuclear power in the first couple of missions but given the huge cargo tonnage that Space X are planning I think that is now irrelevant. Solar it is.

SpaceNut wrote:

Solar on its own will not cut it as the planet is only just so large and the amount of energy per meter is not what we would want it to be for man to have an earth condition under a dome with a just like earth conditions is just not going to happen.

page 7 shows the energy on orbit for distance from the sun https://www.lpi.usra.edu/opag/meetings/ … uchamp.pdf with the levels at each planet being even less on the surface of each....

The panels will reach an upward limit in time and that still will be by covering every in of mars with panels, ao no light under the dome for man to see or feel.

To put mars in perpective take a panel on earth and cover half to start with just the change in distance. Then we would cover some more of what is not covered in order to simulate the dust in the atmosphere blocking the suns rays that reach the surface.
Now try and power the eqiupment with what it will put out even here on earth as thats what we will have on mars from that same square meter of solar cells.

Battery information starts on page 16 of course the voltage converter for charging will have some loss but no more that what we have on earth but we will need to expend energy to keep a battery warm on mars that we do not need to do here on earth.

Mars solar power page 7 has the Atmospheric effects on solar energy

pg 12 Human Mission Studies

The  higher
power  level  makes  high  voltages  desirable  in  order  to  minimize  resistive  losses.  At  the  7-9  mbar  atmospheric
pressure  of  Mars,  voltages  over  roughly  250-350  Volts  results  in  a  Paschen  breakdown of  the  atmosphere,  and
electrostatic discharge. This will have to be taken care of in a design.

not good as wattage of what we need keeps going up....


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

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#113 2018-05-13 21:46:00

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 11,540

Re: Power generation on Mars

solar-panel-efficiency.png

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#114 2018-05-14 03:33:39

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 3,216

Re: Power generation on Mars

Orbtial ATK are deploying arrays with nearly 30% efficiency on the InSight mission:

https://www.orbitalatk.com/space-system … tsheet.pdf

I would expect the Space X Mars mission to have a mix of PV panels but would certainly include some arrays around the 30% mark for immediate deployment, in similar fashion to the Orbital ATK fan method.  Their output would be getting close to those of standard domestic panels on a clear day on Earth, assuming no dust storms.

Last edited by louis (2018-05-14 03:34:54)


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

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#115 2018-05-19 21:39:46

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 11,540

Re: Power generation on Mars

Was searching for other energy creating and happened on a 230 page with plan drawings
http://www.apfn.org/Free_Energy/plans.pdf

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