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ID No : 754   Edit
Title: ISRU Reactant, Fuel Cell Based Power Plant for Robotic and Human Mobile Exploration Applications
Summary / Review : "Three basic power generation system concepts are generally considered for lander, rover, and Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) assistant applications for robotic and human Moon and Mars exploration missions. The most common power system considered is the solar array and battery system. While relatively simple and successful, solar array/battery systems have some serious limitations for mobile applications. For typical rover applications, these limitations include relatively low total energy storage capabilities, daylight only operating times (6 to 8 hours on Mars), relatively short operating lives depending on the operating environment, and rover/lander size and surface use constraints. Radioisotope power systems are being reconsidered for long-range science missions. Unfortunately, the high cost, political controversy, and launch difficulties that are associated with nuclear-based power systems suggests that the use of radioisotope powered landers, rovers, and EVA assistants will be limited. The third power system concept now being considered are fuel cell based systems. Fuel cell power systems overcome many of the performance and surface exploration limitations of solar array/battery power systems and the prohibitive cost and other difficulties associated with nuclear power systems for mobile applications. In an effort to better understand the capabilities and limitations of fuel cell power systems for Moon and Mars exploration applications, NASA is investigating the use of in-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) produced reactant, fuel cell based power plants to power robotic outpost rovers, science equipment, and future human spacecraft, surface-excursion rovers, and EVA assistant rovers. This paper will briefly compare the capabilities and limitations of fuel cell power systems relative to solar array/battery and nuclear systems, discuss the unique and enhanced missions that fuel cell power systems enable, and discuss the common technology and system attributes possible for robotic and human exploration to maximize scientific return and minimize cost and risk to both. Progress made to date at the Johnson Space Center on an ISRU producible reactant, Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell based power plant project to demonstrate the concept in conjunction with rover applications will be presented in detail." (Author's abstract)
Author(s) : Baird, Russell S.; Sanders, Gerald; Simon, Thomas; McCurdy, Kerri, [Johnson Space Center]
Publication Date: 2003
Category(s) : Transportation / Lunar surface
Bases, industry and manufacturing / Power / Energy storage
Bases, industry and manufacturing / Power / Electric
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NTRS : 20100036509
Other Ref # : JSC-CN-7984
Submitted by : MEP
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