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Research Papers

Prospects for Implementing Variable Emittance Thermal Control of Space Suits on the Martian Surface

[+] Author and Article Information
Christopher J. Massina

Aerospace Engineering Sciences,
University of Colorado, Boulder,
429 UCB,
Boulder, CO 80309
e-mail: christopher.massina@colorado.edu

David M. Klaus

Aerospace Engineering Sciences,
University of Colorado, Boulder,
429 UCB,
Boulder, CO 80309
e-mail: klaus@colorado.edu

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF THERMAL SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING APPLICATIONS. Manuscript received December 11, 2015; final manuscript received May 5, 2016; published online June 14, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Steve Cai.

J. Thermal Sci. Eng. Appl 8(4), 041002 (Jun 14, 2016) (8 pages) Paper No: TSEA-15-1350; doi: 10.1115/1.4033618 History: Received December 11, 2015; Revised May 05, 2016

Extravehicular activity (EVA) will play an important role as humans begin exploring Mars, which, in turn, will drive the need for new enabling technologies. For example, space suit heat rejection is currently achieved through the sublimation of ice water to the vacuum of space, a mechanism widely regarded as not feasible for use in Martian environment pressure ranges. As such, new, more robust thermal control mechanisms are needed for use under these conditions. Here, we evaluate the potential of utilizing a full suit, variable emittance radiator as the primary heat rejection mechanism during Martian surface EVAs. Diurnal and seasonal environment variations are considered for a latitude 27.5°S Martian surface exploration site. Surface environmental parameters were generated using the same methods used in the initial selection of the Mars Science Laboratory's initial landing site. This evaluation provides theoretical emittance setting requirements to evaluate the potential of the system's performance in a Mars environment. Parametric variations include metabolic rate, wind speed, radiator solar absorption, and total radiator area. The results showed that this thermal control architecture is capable of dissipating a standard nominal EVA metabolic load of 300 W in all the conditions with the exception of summer noon hours, where a supplemental heat rejection mechanism with a 250 W capacity must be included. These results can be used to identify when conditions are most favorable for conducting EVAs. The full suit, variable emittance radiator architecture provides a viable means of EVA thermal control on the Martian surface.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Diurnal theoretical emittance requirements for 0 m/s wind speed for the given season

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Fig. 2

Diurnal theoretical emittance requirements for 15 m/s wind speed in the given season

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Fig. 3

Diurnal theoretical emittance values for summer conditions and sustained wind speed of 15 m/s

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Fig. 4

Impact of variations in solar absorptance on the theoretical emittance required to maintain thermal neutrality. The 300 W metabolic rate case, with free convection, was used to illustrate the relative impact in a spring environment.

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Fig. 5

Impact of variations in wind speed on the theoretical emittance required to maintain thermal neutrality. The 300 W metabolic rate case was used to illustrate the relative impact in a spring environment.

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