Solar Electric Power System Analyses for Mars Surface Missions 1999-01-2482
The electric power system is a crucial element of any architecture supporting human surface exploration of Mars. In this paper, we describe the conceptual design and detailed analysis of solar electric power system using photovoltaics and regenerative fuel cells to provide surface power on Mars. System performance, mass and deployed area predictions are discussed along with the myriad environmental factors and trade study results that helped to guide system design choices. Based on this work, we have developed a credible solar electric power option that satisfies the surface power requirements of a human Mars mission. The power system option described in this paper has a mass of ~10 metric tons, a ~5000-m2 deployable photovoltaic array using thin film solar cell technology.