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Title: RTGs Using PbTe/TAGSThermoelectric Elements for Mars Environmentatl Survey (MESUR) Mission

The paper describes the results of studies on an RTG option for powering the global network of unmanned landers for NASA's Mars Environmental Survey (MESUR) mission. RTGs are essentially unaffected by diurnal and seasonal variations, Martian sandstorms, and landing site latitudes, and their waste heat can stabilize the temperatures of the landers and their payload. The RTG designs described in this paper are based on PbTe/TAGS Thermoelectric elements, in contrast to the SiGe-based RTGs the author described in previous publications. The RTGs described here differ not only in the choice of thermoelectric materials but also in the use of much lower operating temperatures, conductive rather than radiative heat transfer, an inert cover gas instead of vacuum in the RGG's converter, and fibrous instead of multifoil thermal insulation. As in a previous Teledyne design, the Fairchild designs described in this paper employ flight-proven General Purpose Heat Source modules and Close-Pack Arrays of thermoelectric converter modules. Illustrative point designs of RTGs producing 41 and 51 watts(e) at 28 volts are presented. The presented performance parameters were derived by detailed thermal, thermoelectric, and electrical analyses (including radiator geometry optimization) described in the paper. The Fairchild study resulted in modifications of the Teledyne designmore » to permit scale-up to higher power levels, and to ensure adequate fuel clad ductility at launch temperatures and adequate thermal conductance from the thermoelectric cold ends to the RTG housing. There are three duplicate copies. One copy is in the FSC-ESD files.« less
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Orbital ID: 9480; Call Number: 30-02
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Fairchild Space; Germantown, MD
Research Org:
Fairchild Space
Sponsoring Org:
NE Office of Space and Defense Power Systems
Country of Publication:
United States
NESDPS Office of Nuclear Energy Space and Defense Power Systems; RTG; Mars; MESUR