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CFD Analysis for Assessing the Effect of Wind on the Thermal Control of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity RoverThe challenging range of landing sites for which the Mars Science Laboratory Rover was designed, requires a rover thermal management system that is capable of keeping temperatures controlled across a wide variety of environmental conditions. On the Martian surface where temperatures can be as cold as -123 C and as warm as 38 C, the rover relies upon a Mechanically Pumped Fluid Loop (MPFL) Rover Heat Rejection System (RHRS) and external radiators to maintain the temperature of sensitive electronics and science instruments within a -40 C to 50 C range. The RHRS harnesses some of the waste heat generated from the rover power source, known as the Multi Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG), for use as survival heat for the rover during cold conditions. The MMRTG produces 110 W of electrical power while generating waste heat equivalent to approximately 2000 W. Heat exchanger plates (hot plates) positioned close to the MMRTG pick up this survival heat from it by radiative heat transfer. Winds on Mars can be as fast as 15 m/s for extended periods. They can lead to significant heat loss from the MMRTG and the hot plates due to convective heat pick up from these surfaces. Estimation of this convective heat loss cannot be accurately and adequately achieved by simple textbook based calculations because of the very complicated flow fields around these surfaces, which are a function of wind direction and speed. Accurate calculations necessitated the employment of sophisticated Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) computer codes. This paper describes the methodology and results of these CFD calculations. Additionally, these results are compared to simple textbook based calculations that served as benchmarks and sanity checks for them. And finally, the overall RHRS system performance predictions will be shared to show how these results affected the overall rover thermal performance.
Document ID
20150007436
Document Type
Conference Paper
External Source(s)
Authors
Bhandari, Pradeep (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Anderson, Kevin (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
May 6, 2015
Publication Date
July 14, 2013
Subject Category
Computer Programming and Software
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics
Spacecraft Design, Testing and Performance
Meeting Information
International Conference on Environmental Systems (ICES)(Vail, CO)
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Other
Keywords
wind
Mars
heat rejection systems (HRS)
Curiosity rover
thermal control
windbreakers

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IDRelationTitle20150008691See AlsoCFD Analysis for Assessing the Effect of Wind on the Thermal Control of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover