NASA looks into battery Venus Lander; Power with a microwave balloon



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Artist's idea of ​​a potential future charging device Venus and a power car.

Credit: NASA / JPL

NASA finances a study that can consolidate the way for a charging charger on Venus; one that would be wirelessly charged by a floating companion, similar to balloons that would collect solar energy in the upper atmosphere of our neighboring planet.

The extremely inhospitable atmosphere and Venus surface for a long time hinder the exploration of the planet. With a surface temperature of 450 degrees Celsius; the surface pressure is 92 times greater than Earth and the dense atmosphere in which carbon dioxide is predominant, Venus has long protected its secrets.

But this nine-month, first phase funded by NASA's Advanced Innovation Program (NIAC), they can finally help the land to cope with Venus's surface chemistry, geology and history .

The idea is to use it an autonomous, floating electric generator that collects solar energy near the top of Venus's dense atmosphere .

The upper part of the Venus atmosphere is on average about 2636 watts per square meter, while at the top of the earth's atmosphere, the solar constant is about 1367 watts per square meter, Erik Brandon, the NASA Jet Laboratory (JPL) energy technologist. Who's leading the study, he told me.

When the atmospheric collector charged its batteries, it would probably transmit electricity through microwaves (or possibly in radio spectrum) from high-temperature batteries to high temperature to high-temperature batteries on the device.

The transferred energy, says Brandon, is converted into electrical direct current on the rail using a rectification antenna or "rectangular", made of suitable high temperature materials and using high temperature silicon carbide diodes. Thus, the lawnmower may be continuously extended. Or at least for a longer period than Venus, the former Soviet Union of the seventies of the last century, which never lasted for two hours on the surface of Venus.

Once the rechargeable batteries have been recharged, the solar collector will again return to the upper part of the Venus atmosphere and recharge its batteries.

Brandon says that the biggest challenge is likely to achieve sufficient control with the help of an assembly vehicle to properly master the Venus atmosphere during refueling at higher altitudes and then back to the landing site. The balloon collector will then have to retain control, while its power will be charged on the ramp.

But this permanent process of collecting and filling solar energy for the earth will remain as long as the components and electronics of the earth machine survive Venus' s harsh environment.

Brandon says that in principle this lander / floating-charger combination could work to ensure that the rovers in Venera are powered. A floating balloon platform could also serve as a communication relay between soil and earth. Theoretically, it could continue to function as a secondary scientific mission even after it ceased to function.

But can bath electronics be able to survive surface heat and pressures?

We intend to encourage the advancement of high temperature electronics (such as silicon carbide devices) and packaging to determine if we can form a comprehensive energy system, says Brandon.

At this stage, one study will answer questions about what height should the collection of the spacecraft be? How long can the lane take away a single load of new power? And what would the earth's life be after the first landing, without being recharged?

The initial goal is to ensure that it can operate with fully charged batteries until the first charging event, says Brandon.

Map of the Soviet ports on Venus.

Credit: Wikipedia

Why not simply use a radio-thermal thermoelectric generator (RTG). This is an electric unit that produces energy from the natural decay of radioactive material?

"There are no RTGs that could survive at the temperatures and conditions of Venus," said Brandon. "At present, NASA focuses on the development of improved RTGs for low-temperature, vacuum environments in deep space."

Where else could this technology be used to explore planets?

Brandon says that the principle of such a power beam could work in low-temperature ocean worlds in the external solar system. In this case, a fixed airplane with sufficient power would turn technology on the head and power beam to a smaller probe. "The idea is that it allows you to expand your fixed source of energy across the boundaries of the battens," Brandon said.

But Venus would most likely first see some variations of this technology of collecting balloons and power. If Brandon's current study is successful, a potential second round of funding offers another two years of study.

The Planetary Scientific Community is ready to continue exploring the Venus surface. The Venus research community would like to see a workstation lasting at least a few days, says Brandon. Or at least enough time to collect data and perhaps do some simple patterns.

"[But] It is difficult to predict the life of the mission in such a harsh environment, "Brandon said.

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Artist's idea of ​​a potential future charging device Venus and a power car.

Credit: NASA / JPL

NASA finances a study that can consolidate the way for a charging charger on Venus; one that would be wirelessly charged by a floating companion, similar to balloons that would collect solar energy in the upper atmosphere of our neighboring planet.

The extremely inhospitable atmosphere and Venus surface for a long time hinder the exploration of the planet. With a surface temperature of 450 degrees Celsius; the surface pressure is 92 times greater than Earth and the dense atmosphere in which carbon dioxide is predominant, Venus has long protected its secrets.

But this nine-month, first phase funded by NASA's Advanced Innovation Program (NIAC), they can finally help the land to cope with Venus's surface chemistry, geology and history .

The idea is to use it an autonomous, floating electric generator that collects solar energy near the top of Venus's dense atmosphere .

The upper part of the Venus atmosphere is on average about 2636 watts per square meter, while at the top of the earth's atmosphere, the solar constant is about 1367 watts per square meter, Erik Brandon, the NASA Jet Laboratory (JPL) energy technologist. Who's leading the study, he told me.

When the atmospheric collector charged its batteries, it would probably transmit electricity through microwaves (or possibly in radio spectrum) from high-temperature batteries to high temperature to high-temperature batteries on the device.

The transferred energy, says Brandon, is converted into electrical direct current on the rail using a rectification antenna or "rectangular", made of suitable high temperature materials and using high temperature silicon carbide diodes. Thus, the lawnmower may be continuously extended. Or at least for a longer period than Venus, the former Soviet Union of the seventies of the last century, which never lasted for two hours on the surface of Venus.

Once the rechargeable batteries have been recharged, the solar collector will again return to the upper part of the Venus atmosphere and recharge its batteries.

Brandon says that the biggest challenge is likely to achieve sufficient control with the help of an assembly vehicle to properly master the Venus atmosphere during refueling at higher altitudes and then back to the landing site. The balloon collector will then have to retain control, while its power will be charged on the ramp.

But this permanent process of collecting and filling solar energy for the earth will remain as long as the components and electronics of the earth machine survive Venus' s harsh environment.

Brandon says that in principle this lander / floating-charger combination could work to ensure that the rovers in Venera are powered. A floating balloon platform could also serve as a communication relay between soil and earth. Theoretically, it could continue to function as a secondary scientific mission even after it ceased to function.

But can bath electronics be able to survive surface heat and pressures?

We intend to encourage the advancement of high temperature electronics (such as silicon carbide devices) and packaging to determine whether we can form the ultimate energy system, says Brandon.

At this stage, one study will answer questions about what height should the collection of the spacecraft be? How long can the lane take away a single load of new power? And what would the earth's life be after the first landing, without being recharged?

The initial goal is to ensure that it can operate with fully charged batteries until the first charging event, says Brandon.

Map of the Soviet ports on Venus.

Credit: Wikipedia

Why not simply use a radio-thermal thermoelectric generator (RTG). This is an electric unit that produces energy from the natural decay of radioactive material?

"There are no RTGs that could survive at the temperatures and conditions of Venus," said Brandon. "At present, NASA focuses on the development of improved RTGs for low-temperature, vacuum environments in deep space."

Where else could this technology be used to explore planets?

Brandon says that the principle of such a power beam could work in low-temperature ocean worlds in the external solar system. In this case, a fixed airplane with sufficient power would turn technology on the head and power beam to a smaller probe. "The idea is that it allows you to expand your fixed source of energy across the boundaries of the battens," Brandon said.

But Venus would most likely first see some variations of this technology of collecting balloons and power. If Brandon's current study is successful, a potential second round of funding offers another two years of study.

The Planetary Scientific Community is ready to continue exploring the Venus surface. The Venus research community would like to see a workstation lasting at least a few days, says Brandon. Or at least enough time to collect data and perhaps do some simple patterns.

"[But] It is difficult to predict the life of the mission in such a harsh environment, "Brandon said.

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