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Energy requirements for a first stage of a Mars colony

Posted by: Stefan Sigwarth - Sun Sep 16, 2007 3:23 pm
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Energy requirements for a first stage of a Mars colony 
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Post Energy requirements for a first stage of a Mars colony   Posted on: Sun Sep 16, 2007 3:23 pm
I've been reading through the 'energy generation on Mars' thread and came across some wild assumptions (imo) about energy consumption of a Mars colony. What i would like to point out is that i would like to specify the requirements for every electronic device a first-stage colony might use. I also would like to stress that imho the first dozen additions to the colony should be exactly the same as the first and with a powergeneration with 10-20% to spare (so 10-20% more energy generated then used). Also please add a link to the source of the power consumption.

Would like to point out that this is pure about energy consumption, not how many of each item you would actually bring along.

2x Computer (no tft screen) 5 Watt
http://www.fit-pc.com/specifications.htm

2x TFT/LCD screen b/w ? Watt

2x Heater ? Watt

2x Pump ? Watt

2x Compressor ? Watt

50x Plant LEDLight 6 Watt
http://www.ledtronics.com/ds/plantled/

10x white led lights for the habitat 1 - 5 Watt
http://www.led1.de/


Please feel free to add, rant, discuss or complain.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 18, 2007 4:41 pm
Hello, Stefan,

very good idea to start this thread.

I do not know how far it has proceeded up to now but there is at least one team working on radiation protection equipment against solar wind. The study and project is designed for the Moon but the energy it needs may have to be added to the list if no alternative protection against the particles is found for Mars.

What about the requirements to handle the dust that is said to be toxic and poisonous? Does that require energy eventually?

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Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:26 am
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Hello, Stefan,

very good idea to start this thread.

I do not know how far it has proceeded up to now but there is at least one team working on radiation protection equipment against solar wind. The study and project is designed for the Moon but the energy it needs may have to be added to the list if no alternative protection against the particles is found for Mars.

What about the requirements to handle the dust that is said to be toxic and poisonous? Does that require energy eventually?


About the protection, i'm not sure if it's that necessairy on the surface. Especially for the habitat, you can cover it with dirt at the sides and perhaps also on top if you have a rigid structure. That way you can block out theoretically all radiation. Off course, imho, you're not gonna dug yourself in under several meters of dirt for a first lightweight colony. So you can get it down to atleast 20% of the radiation in space.

But that's a little bit offtopic since it doesnt energy per say to absorb/deflect the radiation. (Yeah i know, mass=energy and vice versa...)

About the dusthandling/cleaning. It requires energy, yes, but depends on how you go about on cleaning it. My assumption is that with the help of a double or a triple airlock, you can keep the dust in the habs itself near zero. But the suits have to be cleaned (we discussed this somewhere else also). Best way to do it imo is with water, unless you can 'degauss' your spacesuit from the dust, but that would still leave the dust in the airlock. With the watercleansing, you need a pump obviously, but it doesn't need tremendous pressure or something. If it indeed turns out to be toxic, you recycle this water in a seperate closed system only used for cleaning the suits. You should be able to get most of the things out of there, or use it for another purpose all together.

But this would not be used continously, in other words, running constantly during daylight hours, so this is just a tiny bit you would take away from the 10%-20% spare you would have built up before you would even go outdoors.


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Post    Posted on: Sun Sep 23, 2007 12:47 am
Elektron recycling system... average power load of 860 W (http://www.jamesoberg.com/elektron2_tec.html).

As far as I remember it's enough for 3 persons.

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Post    Posted on: Sun Sep 23, 2007 6:58 am
Nice find, but i think you can go with plants for oxygen generation if you'r gonna have them anyway for food. Plus, the water has to come from somewhere ;)


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Post    Posted on: Sun Sep 23, 2007 8:37 am
Klaus Schmidt wrote:
Elektron recycling system... average power load of 860 W (http://www.jamesoberg.com/elektron2_tec.html).

As far as I remember it's enough for 3 persons.


Wont Astronauts on Mars use more oxygen than on the ISS as they will be working against gravity all the time?

Also the Elektron uses other chemicals in its system which may not be found on Mars and will have to be manufactured off planet. If I remember corectly didn't one of these leak recently and cause a scare on the ISS? For these reasons I would favour a different set up, one much simpler and safer. Anyone know how much power the new US oxygen generator requires or what chemicals may be neded?

A much bigger system would be needed for Mars or possibly a different approach altogether, like using plants to produce the oxygen.

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Post    Posted on: Sun Sep 23, 2007 9:05 am
i seem to remember some mars project on discovery channel using enhanced wheat of some sort. Think you could genetically modify it to provide food and oxygen better. Bit of info here http://eetdnews.lbl.gov/nl17/mars.html

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Post    Posted on: Sun Sep 23, 2007 9:25 am
Then let's buy a tractor of some sort.

When I consider an electric drive equivalent to a normal diesel engine, I get 14 kW for the small one (http://www.deere.com/en_US/rg/productsequipment/productcatalog/ind/t1_pt/index.html)

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Post    Posted on: Sun Sep 23, 2007 8:01 pm
New documentary soon, could be worth a watch
http://www.space.com/entertainment/0709 ... debut.html

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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 22, 2007 12:43 am
On average US resident uses 30kWhr per day. To be on the safe side I 'd say that base would have ten times that 300kwhr per person per day. So you need 10kW generator per person. That's only 0.1 MW generator for 10 man base. The simplest way to supply this kind of energy is through solar power with efficient energy storage. You'll need about 100m*2(?) of solar panels. Thats my assessment anyway for what it's worth...

Maybe someone could identify what that base will actually DO?

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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 22, 2007 2:38 am
Horus wrote:
Maybe someone could identify what that base will actually DO?
That is the question. If we had a good answer that most of the people in the world understood and agreed with, we would be on Mars already. The fact that we don't is the reason the world doesn't spend what it takes to go there. A large part of the world does not believe it will ever be possible, and most of the rest think that it will be hundreds of year before our technology is advanced enough to really consider it. Only a tiny minority (of the world, not this form) thinks we could AND should do it now.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 22, 2007 6:45 am
I think it would be good 2nd start to see what on earth they do on ISS with all the power. I still think it's a ridiculous amount of power they use. Unless you want to start a mining operation right away with heavy equipement, there is no way they will need 1 KW continuesly. Plus, it's gonna be a restriction anyway, so they have to do some serious energy conservations.

But i surely want to know the powerconsumption specified for the ISS. I'll try to search for it today.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 22, 2007 8:57 am
1 kW is nothing. The ISS e.g. has I think 5 notebooks for station control systems. Take 90-100 W consumption and you would already have eaten up half of your energy budget.

For designing (and getting numbers for energy requirements) a space station I can recommend the book of my prof, former astronaut, Ernst Messerschmid "Space Stations. Systems and Utilization"

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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 22, 2007 9:00 am
I would expect more power to be used on Mars than on the ISS. Unlike the ISS any habitat on Mars will have to be heated and resources such as oxygen, water and food will need to be produced.

Moving power around will also be an issue, I dont think solar powered vehicles will be possible which means either a storage medium such as fuel cells will be needed (for shorter journeys) or separate small power plants.

I guess it could be possible to unroll a solar cell carpet and use it to charge a vehicles batteries periodically but this would mean constant stops, OK if you are stopping anyway to investigate stuff but inconvenient if you are not.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 22, 2007 9:06 am
Klaus Schmidt wrote:
1 kW is nothing. The ISS e.g. has I think 5 notebooks for station control systems. Take 90-100 W consumption and you would already have eaten up half of your energy budget.

For designing (and getting numbers for energy requirements) a space station I can recommend the book of my prof, former astronaut, Ernst Messerschmid "Space Stations. Systems and Utilization"


Yes, but we're not talking about a space station but a colony on Mars. It doesn't need attitude control, propulsion control etc. You wouldn't even need the 5 notebooks.

But i looked a bit up, but i didn't found any numbers, but several pages giving info on the experiments aboard iss and they literally eat energy for lunch. I only want to know the absolute minimum power consumption just to stay alive.

Btw, is he family of _the_ Messerschmid?
(I've ordered the book, thanks for the tip)


Last edited by Stefan Sigwarth on Mon Oct 22, 2007 9:16 am, edited 1 time in total.



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