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Title: A Comparison of Fission Power System Options for Lunar and Mars Surface Applications

Abstract

This paper presents a comparison of reactor and power conversion design options for 50 kWe class lunar and Mars surface power applications with scaling from 25 to 200 kWe. Design concepts and integration approaches are provided for three reactor-converter combinations: gas-cooled Brayton, liquid-metal Stirling, and liquid-metal thermoelectric. The study examines the mass and performance of low temperature, stainless steel based reactors and higher temperature refractory reactors. The preferred system implementation approach uses crew-assisted assembly and in-situ radiation shielding via installation of the reactor in an excavated hole. As an alternative, self-deployable system concepts that use earth-delivered, on-board radiation shielding are evaluated. The analyses indicate that among the 50 kWe stainless steel reactor options, the liquid-metal Stirling system provides the lowest mass at about 5300 kg followed by the gas-cooled Brayton at 5700 kg and the liquid-metal thermoelectric at 8400 kg. The use of a higher temperature, refractory reactor favors the gas-cooled Brayton option with a system mass of about 4200 kg as compared to the Stirling and thermoelectric options at 4700 kg and 5600 kg, respectively. The self-deployed concepts with on-board shielding result in a factor of two system mass increase as compared to the in-situ shielded concepts.

Authors:
 [1]
  1. NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio 44135 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
20797985
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: AIP Conference Proceedings; Journal Volume: 813; Journal Issue: 1; Conference: 10. conference on thermophysics applications in microgravity; 23. symposium on space nuclear power and propulsion; 4. conference on human/robotic technology and the national vision for space exploration; 4. symposium on space colonization; 3. symposium on new frontiers and future concepts, Albuquerque, NM (United States), 12-16 Feb 2006; Other Information: DOI: 10.1063/1.2169203; (c) 2006 American Institute of Physics; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
42 ENGINEERING; BRAYTON CYCLE; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; DESIGN; ENERGY CONVERSION; LIQUID METALS; MOON; PERFORMANCE; POWER SYSTEMS; REACTORS; SHIELDING; SPACE; SPACE VEHICLES; STAINLESS STEELS; STIRLING ENGINES

Citation Formats

Mason, Lee S. A Comparison of Fission Power System Options for Lunar and Mars Surface Applications. United States: N. p., 2006. Web. doi:10.1063/1.2169203.
Mason, Lee S. A Comparison of Fission Power System Options for Lunar and Mars Surface Applications. United States. doi:10.1063/1.2169203.
Mason, Lee S. Fri . "A Comparison of Fission Power System Options for Lunar and Mars Surface Applications". United States. doi:10.1063/1.2169203.
@article{osti_20797985,
title = {A Comparison of Fission Power System Options for Lunar and Mars Surface Applications},
author = {Mason, Lee S.},
abstractNote = {This paper presents a comparison of reactor and power conversion design options for 50 kWe class lunar and Mars surface power applications with scaling from 25 to 200 kWe. Design concepts and integration approaches are provided for three reactor-converter combinations: gas-cooled Brayton, liquid-metal Stirling, and liquid-metal thermoelectric. The study examines the mass and performance of low temperature, stainless steel based reactors and higher temperature refractory reactors. The preferred system implementation approach uses crew-assisted assembly and in-situ radiation shielding via installation of the reactor in an excavated hole. As an alternative, self-deployable system concepts that use earth-delivered, on-board radiation shielding are evaluated. The analyses indicate that among the 50 kWe stainless steel reactor options, the liquid-metal Stirling system provides the lowest mass at about 5300 kg followed by the gas-cooled Brayton at 5700 kg and the liquid-metal thermoelectric at 8400 kg. The use of a higher temperature, refractory reactor favors the gas-cooled Brayton option with a system mass of about 4200 kg as compared to the Stirling and thermoelectric options at 4700 kg and 5600 kg, respectively. The self-deployed concepts with on-board shielding result in a factor of two system mass increase as compared to the in-situ shielded concepts.},
doi = {10.1063/1.2169203},
journal = {AIP Conference Proceedings},
number = 1,
volume = 813,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Jan 20 00:00:00 EST 2006},
month = {Fri Jan 20 00:00:00 EST 2006}
}