Finally, nuclear is not the best solution for colonies on Mars

Des chercheurs de l’université de Californie à Berkeley (États-Unis) viennent de déterminer que l’énergie solaire pourrait être la plus efficace pour soutenir l’exploration de la planète Mars. © Sasa Kadrijevic, Adobe Stock

Go to Mars, that’s good. Moving there is even better. But it all takes energy. Especially electricity. The question now arises as to how it will be produced, as on earth. Like on Earth, solar energy and nuclear seem to want to pull the blanket on each one. Which of the two will become the winner? Researchers have their idea.

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[EN VIDÉO] Live and act as if you were on the moon or Mars
The Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) is a research center located at an altitude of about 2,500 meters, with a dome of about 110 square meters, on the sides of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii. Aim: To mimic the lives of human colonists who are going to settle on the moon or Mars. Not only can astronauts learn how to interact with each other in difficult situations, but they can also live on the moon and Mars and conduct research and develop the most suitable methods and equipment. © Hi-Seas

Experts say it over and over again, in the background global warming We live and oppose Nuclear power generation Renewable energy generation makes no sense. On earth anyway. But now the debate is rising unexpectedly. By exporting to Mars. Most of the engineers who worked on the question validated the nuclear option as the best alternative, Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley (United States) reveals today that solar will generate all the electricity needed by future colonists on Mars. For an extended mission and permanent installation on the Red Planet.

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Remember that NASA Has been working for years for the development of miniature nuclear reactors Kg Power. Reactors operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Engineers today believe it is safe and effective in supporting exploration RoboticsAnd also man from Mars.

L ‘Solar energy, Presents itself with some of the shortcomings we know on earth. The electricity thus generated must be stored for use at night. And on Mars, Storms Dust sometimes obscures the sky, covering everything with a red blanket. We remember that Rover From NASA Opportunity Forced to take a break in one of these storms in 2019.

Energy is difficult to assess

But researchers at the University of California did not want to stop there. To compare the two solutions, they chose a systematic approach. Considering a Mission to Mars 480 days, including approximately 420 days of travel time. Because they do not know exactly what energy is needed for such a mission Physicists A mathematical model was developed to explore different situations. For example, conditions including requirements for temperature and pressure control to produce fertilizerAgriculture Mars will deliver propellant for methane production Rocket Intended for return to Earth or bioplastic production.

They compared these requirements with the production potential of one nuclear kilowatt and photovoltaic production systems and three storage options. Simple batteries, a productionHydrogen By direct photoelectric cells or by the production of hydrogen Electrolysis. A hydrogen that can be used to supply, as some on Earth imagine Fuel cells On a Tuesday night or during a popular dust storm.

Solar energy will be the most interesting

As a result, about half of Mars’ surface – especially in the equatorial regions – is finally presented with solar energy as a more interesting solution than nuclear energy. However, only if solar production is connected to a hydrogen electrolysis system.

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A question of efficiency, but above all, the weight of solar panels. For a nearby landing siteEquatorFor example, for a rocket with a payload of 100 tons, the total weight of the on-board solar panels – and the hydrogen storage system – would be approximately 8.3 tons – more than 9.5 tons per kilogram of power reactor system. It is sufficient to consider carrying emergency panels. This is not possible for the nuclear system. However, the researchers point out that their functionality is only valid if they consider the recently developed flexible solar panels. They are lightweight as they do without structure Steel Or even glass supports that look traditional Roofs Of our good old earth.

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