Browse Publications Technical Papers 2000-01-3636
2000-10-31

Power Requirements for Future Robotic Space Missions 2000-01-3636

This paper describes future mission power requirements for missions being investigated to accomplish NASA's Solar System Exploration (SSE) theme. Many potential missions to the outer planets (Jupiter and beyond) require advanced radioisotope power systems (RPS). Technology development for Advanced RPSs is being carried out as apart of NASA's Solar System Exploration Technology Program. The power levels for future planetary deep space science missions are broken down into the following four classes. Milliwatt-class (40 to 100milliwatt) that could provide both thermal and electric power for Mars weather stations. One to two-watt class for small in situ surface science laboratories and for aerobot atmospheric science laboratories for bodies in the solar system. Ten to twenty-watt class for micro satellites in orbit, surface science stations and aerobots. One hundred to two hundred watt-class to power orbiter science spacecraft, to power drills to obtain core samples of outer planet bodies, for powering surface robots, subsurface hydrobots and cryobots on accessible bodies and for data handling and communicating data from small orbiters, surface laboratories, aerobots and hydrobots back to Earth. Advanced RPSs in the one hundred-watt class are also favored over solar power for obtaining comet samples on extended-duration comet missions.

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