Mechanically Pumped Fluid Loop Technologies for Thermal Control of Future Mars Rovers
Future planetary science missions planned for Mars are expected to be more complex and thermally challenging than any of the previous missions. For future rovers, the operational parameters such as landing site latitudes, mission life, distance traversed, and rover thermal energy to be managed will be significantly higher (two to five times) than the previous missions. It is a very challenging problem to provide an effective thermal control for the future rovers using traditional passive thermal control technologies. Recent investigations at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have shown that mechanical pump based fluid loops provide a robust and effective thermal control system needed for these future rovers. Mechanical pump based fluid loop (MPFL) technologies are currently being developed at JPL for use on such rovers. These fluid loops are planned for use during spacecraft cruise from earth to Mars and also on the Martian surface operations.