Dynamic Isotope Power System Design Considerations for Human Exploration of the Moon and Mars

Paper #:
  • 929483

Published:
  • 1992-08-03
Citation:
Bents, D., McKissock, B., Rodriguez, C., Hanlon, J. et al., "Dynamic Isotope Power System Design Considerations for Human Exploration of the Moon and Mars," SAE Technical Paper 929483, 1992, https://doi.org/10.4271/929483.
Pages:
6
Abstract:
To support the Space Exploration Initiative, studies were performed to investigate and characterize Dynamic Isotope Power System (DIPS) alternatives for the surface mission elements associated with a lunar base and subsequent manned Mars expedition. A key part of this characterization was to determine how the mission environment affects system design. The impact of shielding to provide astronaut protection from power system radiation was also examined. Impacts of mission environment and shielding were examined for two representative DIPS types (closed Brayton cycle and Stirling cycle converters). Mission environmental factors included: (1) thermal background; (2) dust and atmospheric corrosion; (3) meteoroid damage; and (4) presence of an atmosphere on Mars.Physical effects of these factors on thermal power systems were identified and their parametric range associated with the mission and mission environment were determined. The quantitative impacts of these factors on DIPS mass and radiator area were then estimated. Results of the study showed that the greatest impacts result from integration with the user.
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