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The viability of photovoltaics on the Martian surfaceThe viability of photovoltaics (PV) on the Martian surface may be determined by their ability to withstand significant degradation in the Martian environment. Probably the greatest threat is posed by fine dust particles which are continually blown about the surface of the planet. In an effort to determine the extent of the threat, and to investigate some abatement strategies, a series of experiments were conducted in the Martian Surface Wind Tunnel (MARSWIT) at NASA Ames Research Center. The effects of dust composition, particle size, wind velocity, angle of attack, and protective coatings on the transmittance of light through PV coverglass were determined. Both initially clear and initially dusted samples were subjected both to clear winds and simulated dust storms in the MARSWIT. It was found that wind velocity, particle size, and angle of attack are important parameters affecting occlusion of PV surfaces, while dust composition and protective coatings were not. Neither induced turbulence nor direct current biasing up to 200 volts were effective abatement techniques. Abrasion diffused the light impinging on the PV cells, but did not reduce total coverglass transmittance by more than a few percent.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Gaier, James R.
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Perez-Davis, Marla E.
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
March 1, 1994
Subject Category
Energy Production And Conversion
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.15:106478
Meeting Information
Case for Mars V Conference(Boulder, CO)
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 583-02-21
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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