A Hybrid Power System for a Permanent Colony on Mars

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Since the dawn of humanity, people have contemplated the sky exploring the firmament. However, it was not until the twentieth century that humans were able to leave Earth and visit other celestial objects. In fact, nowadays, rovers roam Mars on a daily basis pushing the limits of science in a seemingly routine fashion. It is just a matter of time before humanity sets foot on the red planet with the aim of establishing a permanent colony. Such a complex endeavour demands continuous research, simulation, and planning. Consequently, this paper is aimed at starting a proper discussion about the configuration and design of a suitable power system for said Martian outpost. An initial literature review leads to the definition of a reference colony and its growing stages, which is followed by a revision of available energy-related technologies leading to a concrete design of a suitable electrical network. Lastly, the proposed hybrid power system is evaluated in terms of its reliability during the long-term operation under the extreme environmental conditions of Mars. The reference colony starts as an unmanned mission, as robots will prepare the selected location for the first human inhabitants. Later, it suffers several upgrades in size reaching a permanent population of 100 people. Therefore, a holistic approach is needed when designing the power system in order to ensure the continuous supply of the colony. Finally, the selected topology of the colony’s power system is presented.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9820546
JournalSpace: Science & Technology
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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