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#76 2019-07-13 16:18:34

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,840

Re: NASA and DOE to test kilopower nuclear reactor for space applications

I took a look at how long it took to construct a 3.2MW array over Ontario, California's Milliken landfill as part of a land-use reclamation project.  The project was slated to last about a year, but was actually completed in 2017, according to US EPA.  Construction started in December of 2015.  The report describing activities at the site said about two dozen men in hard hats were pouring small concrete slabs for the bases, so as not to penetrate the earthen cap over the landfill, and bolting steel tubes together to serve as the support structure for the panels.

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#77 2019-07-14 08:20:47

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,637

Re: NASA and DOE to test kilopower nuclear reactor for space applications

1. The idea you would have wooden crates for delivering solar panels to Mars is just silly. The panels or PV film will be stowed away securely in specially designed, ultra clean holds prior to launch. There will be no need for wooden crates.

2.  I would expect something like ATK's Megaflex - yielding perhaps 80 Kw peak on the Mars surface to form part of a phase 1 PV installation. These would unfold automatically once positioned on the surface. You might have two or three of those.

3.  Remember the PV panels on the 6 Starships will still be operational. I don't think anyone knows yet how much they will generate but they could easily be averaging 10Kws during the sol. So maybe 60 Kws...who knows?

4.  The rest of the PV system would be deployed by robots following extensive testing on Earth. This is probably her ultra-lightweight but relatively low efficiency flexible PV would be used I expect. The weather on Mars, apart from the air temperature is extremely clement - no need to worry about thunderstorms, torrential rain, hailstones, high winds or destructive tornadoes. The idea you would require concrete bases for PV systems on Mars is, I would suggest, laughable.  I have proposed a system based on hooking the flexible PV to two wires strung taught between stable brackets planted firmly on the ground (maybe weighed down with regolith). The wires and brackets would be so arranged that the PV sections would be angled to maximise power output, as on Earth.

5. The robots could operate automatically according to a computer programme once RF transponder have been laid out on the site. Ideally I think you'd have two robot rovers operating. One would lay the brackets. The other would attach the PV sections. With 10 metre sections. A human-passenger rovers would probably unload cargo - PV panel sections, brackets with wires, together with all the related electrical equipment. If the rovers could complete 500 sq. metres a sol, it would take them about 120 sols to complete the whole installation. You might be starting propellant production after maybe 50 sols.

It may be that a more efficient system for laying out could be devised. It might make more sense to have the PV ready packed with its support structure, which would deployed by gravity on being lifted up by a robot. Or you might have gas-inflated support structures at intervals. I am sure there are many ways to skin the proverbial cat. 

6. From the above it can be seen that the Mars settlers will have plenty of energy available to them from the get-go to power rovers and habs etc. If the settlers of landing in the middle of a major dust storm, they could supplement their power with methalox generators.


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

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#78 2019-07-14 09:12:19

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,619

Re: NASA and DOE to test kilopower nuclear reactor for space applications

1. you do realize that the wooden crates provide support to transport the glass panels to the site safely, stacked neatly within them which does not change for mars only wood to metal for the support. The BFR hold is located 50 m in the air at minimum.

2. now you want to switch from glass panels to the ATK fans on a pole that does not have any mounting on the ground to place them into a ground holder that does not exist. Still got the issue of moving from cargo hold to ground level issue from the transport carrier. Then they must be joined or connector all together for the grid, provided the computer connection to control the fan motion of opening and aligning once set in their holder.

3. well if you do not know then you have not tested your idea out where it can be done. Of course even the flexible panels can be tested for deployment but they are not going to give the same power levels with regards to the other types.

4. all of the deployment system is done with robotics if we do not use men so of course they will be fully tested here on earth long before going. As for mars weather its a pain for sure with the dust storms, dust devils, and pesky meteorites that do happen. The mounting of the panels is physics you can not have something stay upright without it being anchored.....

5. another layer of prep in getting the robots to the ground for use which would use that drop area as coordinate 0,0 and could move out from that location on a grid of which survey cameras would be used to layout the grid before moving. This would be a 3 camera system setup in a corner fashion with an arrangement of 90 degree for the side cameras with the center being at the 45 degree to allow for grid placement alignment. Unless these robots are given nuclear power we will be forced to only work during the days with solar. The robots can not avoid humans in the work area so once started its all them and no partail power from what is assemble can not work for making fuel....

6 agreed that a complete power system is what it will take

6.

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#79 2019-07-14 18:55:26

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,637

Re: NASA and DOE to test kilopower nuclear reactor for space applications

1. My point is that the method of delivery to site on Earth is entirely different from delivery to site on Mars. Space X (or any other Mars coloniser) is going to ensure that cargo can be released from holds with relative ease. The way the Starlink satellites were packed in is probably more indicative of how this will be achieved.

https://wonderfulengineering.com/elon-m … on-rocket/

2.   Space X seem to be thinking in terms of flexible PV for their solar power station. I am not sure glass panels will really be part of the package.

Although Space X haven't mention ATK systems, I think you probably need something that go into operation immediately. If you are setting up a hab, it is going to be located a good distance from the rockets. Easier to have an independent system rather than run cables over several hundred metres, though I guess that would be possible. A system for Mars might be smaller than is possible in zero G space, so smaller than the Megaflex perhaps,  but I think something using the fan system would be ideal.

3.   I think given the experience with robots on Mars we can have an accurate idea of solar power generation on Mars. How exactly the PV system would be deployed is a matter for planning but I am sure it won't be a matter of unpacking crates, laying concrete bases and using power drills to secure panels to frames.

4. This video regarding farm robots shows how dextrous and fast moden robots can be.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qrlFse5I1U

Dust storms are more of an annoyance I would say. The reason rovers have closed down on Mars to date is because they are v. small and rely on PV power, so are in danger of freezing to death unless they shut down and preserve battery power. Dust devils likewise are v. weak on Mars.

A meteorite shower is probably the greatest danger on Mars possibly. But then that is true, whatever your energy system - especially so if the meteorites hit your return rocket and damage it substantially. We can't eliminate risk entirely. I think the risk does support the idea of not having a single continuous PV array, but maybe splitting it between several locations.

5. The use of transponder grids is well establish with farm robots and lawn mower robots. Robots can be programmed to recognise humans and come to a halt if they are nearby. I doubt we'll want to work during the night because of the extreme cold but a properly designed PV system will provide power continuously. Power can be stored overnight in chemical batteries and methalox generators (using methane and oxygen manufactured previously) can also provide power through the night.

6. I think we can see the outline of a PV power system with effective storage of power.







SpaceNut wrote:

1. you do realize that the wooden crates provide support to transport the glass panels to the site safely, stacked neatly within them which does not change for mars only wood to metal for the support. The BFR hold is located 50 m in the air at minimum.

2. now you want to switch from glass panels to the ATK fans on a pole that does not have any mounting on the ground to place them into a ground holder that does not exist. Still got the issue of moving from cargo hold to ground level issue from the transport carrier. Then they must be joined or connector all together for the grid, provided the computer connection to control the fan motion of opening and aligning once set in their holder.

3. well if you do not know then you have not tested your idea out where it can be done. Of course even the flexible panels can be tested for deployment but they are not going to give the same power levels with regards to the other types.

4. all of the deployment system is done with robotics if we do not use men so of course they will be fully tested here on earth long before going. As for mars weather its a pain for sure with the dust storms, dust devils, and pesky meteorites that do happen. The mounting of the panels is physics you can not have something stay upright without it being anchored.....

5. another layer of prep in getting the robots to the ground for use which would use that drop area as coordinate 0,0 and could move out from that location on a grid of which survey cameras would be used to layout the grid before moving. This would be a 3 camera system setup in a corner fashion with an arrangement of 90 degree for the side cameras with the center being at the 45 degree to allow for grid placement alignment. Unless these robots are given nuclear power we will be forced to only work during the days with solar. The robots can not avoid humans in the work area so once started its all them and no partail power from what is assemble can not work for making fuel....

6 agreed that a complete power system is what it will take

6.


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

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#80 2019-07-14 19:23:50

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,619

Re: NASA and DOE to test kilopower nuclear reactor for space applications

Why do we keep having solar talked about in a not solar topic?
We have solar topics for this, do we not....

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#81 2019-07-14 19:45:22

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,840

Re: NASA and DOE to test kilopower nuclear reactor for space applications

SpaceNut,

Ideology typically doesn't have much to do with practical engineering.  We have certain people who are after specific results, so any physics or other practical limitations affecting the results they wish to achieve will be ignored and their own ideation will be substituted for anything resembling a well-tested, properly engineered solution.  So, we have an ideology problem.  Both solar and nuclear power have optimal uses for space exploration purposes.  Solar panels have power output limitations that mandate line-of-sight and relatively close proximity to the gigantic fusion reactor at the center of our solar system and fission reactors have governmental policy restrictions placed upon their use that limits who / how / when / where they may be used.

In any event, no single power technology will be the answer to all problems.  We don't make Methane from the Sabatier reaction here on Earth for commercial use because it's economically impractical, in both the monetary and energy efficiency sense, so long as we can simply pump it out of the ground.  We can't do that on Mars, so far as we know, so we need a range of power solutions intended to address specific use cases.

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