Design of a nuclear-powered rover for lunar or Martian exploration

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To perform more advanced studies on the surface of the moon or Mars, a rover must provide long-term power ({ge}10 kW{sub e}). However, a majority of rovers in the past have been designed for much lower power levels (i.e., on the order of watts) or for shorter operating periods using stored power. Thus, more advanced systems are required to generate additional power. One possible design for a more highly powered rover involves using a nuclear reactor to supply energy to the rover and material from the surface of the moon or Mars to shield the electronics from high neutron fluxes ... continued below

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10 p.

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Trellue, H.R.; Trautner, R.; Houts, M.G.; Poston, D.I.; Giovig, K.; Baca, J.A. et al. August 1, 1998.

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To perform more advanced studies on the surface of the moon or Mars, a rover must provide long-term power ({ge}10 kW{sub e}). However, a majority of rovers in the past have been designed for much lower power levels (i.e., on the order of watts) or for shorter operating periods using stored power. Thus, more advanced systems are required to generate additional power. One possible design for a more highly powered rover involves using a nuclear reactor to supply energy to the rover and material from the surface of the moon or Mars to shield the electronics from high neutron fluxes and gamma doses. Typically, one of the main disadvantages of using a nuclear-powered rover is that the required shielding would be heavy and expensive to include as part of the payload on a mission. Obtaining most of the required shielding material from the surface of the moon or Mars would reduce the cost of the mission and still provide the necessary power. This paper describes the basic design of a rover that uses the Heatpipe Power System (HPS) as an energy source, including the shielding and reactor control issues associated with the design. It also discusses briefly the amount of power that can be produced by other power methods (solar/photovoltaic cells, radioisotope power supplies, dynamic radioisotope power systems, and the production of methane or acetylene fuel from the surface of Mars) as a comparison to the HPS.

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10 p.

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INIS; OSTI as DE99002546

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  • Founding convention of the Mars Society, Boulder, CO (United States), 13-16 Aug 1998

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  • Other: DE99002546
  • Report No.: LA-UR--98-3972
  • Report No.: CONF-980884--
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-36
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 348939
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc688607

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • August 1, 1998

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • July 25, 2015, 2:20 a.m.

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  • May 5, 2016, 7:27 p.m.

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Trellue, H.R.; Trautner, R.; Houts, M.G.; Poston, D.I.; Giovig, K.; Baca, J.A. et al. Design of a nuclear-powered rover for lunar or Martian exploration, article, August 1, 1998; New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc688607/: accessed November 13, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.