(ORDO NEWS) — “Green” energy is possible on the Red Planet. The scientists modeled the Martian winds and showed that with proper installation of windmills, they are able to fully provide a habitable base with a crew of six people.
Sooner or later, humanity will settle on a neighboring planet. Space agencies in different countries and SpaceX are exploring the possibility of sending manned expeditions to Mars and even building permanent habitable bases there.
And the closer this prospect is, the more urgent is the issue of providing future settlers with energy. As a rule, solar panels and compact nuclear reactors are looked at from this point of view, but not wind turbines.
The atmosphere of the Red Planet is too thin, and the force of the wind on Mars is only a small fraction – about one percent – of what can be found on Earth.
However, new work by Victoria Hartwick and her colleagues at NASA‘s Ames Research Center shows that wind turbines are too early to cross off the list of candidates for a future base.
The fact is that one of the most promising places for building a future base is the polar regions of Mars, where you can find water ice.
However, it is there that the energy of solar radiation is minimal, and even during periods of dust storms it becomes completely inaccessible.
All this makes wind generation a very useful addition to solar panels, which was demonstrated by the authors of the new work.
Scientists used climate models of the Earth adapted to the conditions of a neighboring planet.
They were supplemented with detailed data on the landscape, weather, solar radiation and other parameters collected by the Viking and MGS missions.
This made it possible to simulate the wind regimes in different regions of Mars, their changes day and night, during different seasons.
Based on this information, the authors calculated the energy of the wind, as well as the share of it that can be extracted using various models of wind turbines used today on Earth.
Calculations have shown that properly installed windmills can be not only a useful addition to solar panels, but in some areas of the Martian surface they can fully power a base with a crew of six.
Local winds reach their maximum strength on the elevated edges of impact craters, as well as in high mountain regions.
At the poles, they are weaker, but even there windmills are quite capable of feeding small, autonomous research stations.
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