Finally, nuclear power is not the best solution for the colonies on Mars

Des chercheurs de l’université de Californie à Berkeley (États-Unis) viennent de déterminer que l’énergie solaire pourrait être la plus efficace pour soutenir l’exploration de la planète Mars. © Sasa Kadrijevic, Adobe Stock

Go to Mars, that’s good. Even better to go there. But all of this will require energy. Especially electricity. And on earth, the question now arises as to how to produce it. Like the earth, the sun and nuclear power each want to pull the blanket on themselves. Which of the two will win? Researchers have their idea.

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[EN VIDÉO] Live and work on the moon or on Mars
Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) is a research station located at an altitude of about 2,500 meters on an area of ​​about 110 square meters on the edge of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii. Purpose: To simulate the life of human settlers migrating to the moon or to Mars. Not only do astronauts understand how they can communicate with each other in difficult situations, but also develop the most appropriate methods and equipment for living and researching on the Moon and Mars. © HI-SEAS

Experts say again and again in the context of Global warming That we live, we oppose Nuclear power generation And renewable electricity generation makes no sense. On earth anyway. But now the debate has reached an unexpected climax. By exporting to Mars. Most of the engineers who have worked on the question have verified the nuclear option as the best alternative. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley (United States) reveals today that solar power can generate all the electricity needed for future Martian colonies. For extended work and even for permanent installation on the Red Planet.

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Remember that NASA Has been working for many years on the construction of so-called miniature nuclear reactors Kilobower. Reactors that operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Today engineers consider it safe and effective in supporting research RoboticsBut even man from Mars.

L ‘Solar power, Presents itself with some of the flaws we know of on earth. The electricity thus generated must be stored if it is to be used at night. And on Mars, Storms Dust sometimes obscures the sky, covering everything with a red veil. We remember that Round From NASA Opportunity One of these storms in 2019 was devastating.

Energy requirements are difficult to estimate

But researchers at the University of California do not want to stop there. In order to compare the two solutions, they chose a systematic approach. Considering a Mission to Mars Travel time included is 480 days, approximately 420 days. Because they do not know what the energy requirement of such a task is Physicists Developed a mathematical model to explore different scenarios. For example, scenarios including requirements for temperature and pressure control, requirements for fertilizer productionAgriculture Mars will provide the impetus for methane production Rocket For return to Earth or for bioplastic production.

They differentiated these requirements with the production potential of nuclear kilowatt and photovoltaic modes of production and three storage options. Simple batteries, a productHydrogen Directly by photosynthetic cells or by the production of hydrogen Electrolysis. A hydrogen, as some on earth think, can be used to deliver Fuel cells Tuesday night or during the famous dust storms.

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Solar energy can be very interesting

As a result, almost half of the surface of Mars – especially in the equator – is finally provided with solar energy, a much more interesting solution than nuclear power. However, solar production is only possible if it is combined with a hydrogen electrolysis system.

A question about performance, but above all, the weight of solar panels. To the nearest landing siteequatorFor example, for a rocket carrying 100 tons of payload – a hydrogen storage system – the researchers estimate that the total weight of the board solar panels will be about 8.3 tons. – 9.5 tons per kilowatt reactor system compared. It is enough to consider carrying emergency panels. This is not possible for the nuclear system. However, the researchers point out that their work is only valid if we consider the recently developed flexible solar panels. They are lighter because they do without structures Steel Or even traditionally found glass supports Roofs Our good old earth.

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