Actual Knowledge of Martian Environment and Associated Thermal Control and Life Support Solutions for the Future 2001-01-2283
The Martian environment is known actually through the measurements made by the few vehicles having landed on the Mars surface – Viking 1 and 2 and Pathfinder mainly– and from observations of spacecraft orbiting from Mars Orbit. Direct observations from the Earth ground are also available.
Recent Mars Global Surveyor data have increased the knowledge but many points remain unknown. The recent loss of Mars Polar Lander has increased the scientific people eagerness about planet data and ground configuration.
The paper presents the present status of knowledge about the atmospheric parameters of the Martian environment including dust assumptions. It will describe the various solutions and databases for modeling the atmosphere and the uncertainties on the parameters.
It will make the point on the thermal control associated problems and solutions for atmospheric transfer and landed vehicles. For this, it will focus on the environmental challenges linked to this particular environment : difficulties in the thermal control because of very low temperatures, special arrangements for the solar panels (solar cells), special processes in all the mechanisms because of dust clogging, particular design linked to storms on Mars, etc….
The present level of knowledge of this environment and steps to be performed to allow man on Mars in the future will be presented as well as technology gaps for a Martian ECLSS. At last, mass linked limitations will be described.