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Preliminary Assessment of Feasibility of a Wind Energy Conversion System for a Martian Probe or Surface Rover

Authors: M. Raciti Castelli, E. Benini, M. Cescon


Nuclear energy sources have been widely used in the past decades in order to power spacecraft subsystems. Nevertheless, their use has attracted controversy because of the risk of harmful material released into the atmosphere if an accident were to occur during the launch phase of the mission, leading to the general adoption of photovoltaic systems. As compared to solar cells, wind turbines have a great advantage on Mars, as they can continuously produce power both during dust storms and at night-time: this paper focuses on the potential of a wind energy conversion system (WECS) considering the atmospheric conditions on Mars. Wind potential on Martian surface has been estimated, as well as the average energy requirements of a Martian probe or surface rover. Finally, the expected daily energy output of the WECS has been computed on the basis of both the swept area of the rotor and the equivalent wind speed at the landing site.

Keywords: Mars, Wind turbine, probe, Wind potential, surface rover

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