Journal article Open Access

Venus surface power and cooling systems

Landis, Geoffrey A.; Mellott, Kenneth C.

A mission to the surface of Venus is would have high scientific value, but most electronic devices and sensors cannot operate at the 450 °C ambient surface temperature of Venus. Power and cooling systems were analyzed for Venus surface operation. A radioisotope power and cooling system was designed to provide electrical power for a probe operating on the surface of Venus. For a mission duration of substantial length, the use of thermal mass to maintain an operable temperature range is likely impractical, and active refrigeration may be required to keep components at a temperature below ambient. Due to the high thermal convection of the high-density atmosphere, the heat rejection temperature was assumed to be at a 500 C° radiator temperature, 50 °C above ambient. The radioisotope Stirling power converter designed produces a thermodynamic power output capacity of 478.1 watts, with a cooling power of 100 watts. The overall efficiency is calculated to be 23.36 %. The mass of the power converter is estimated at approximately 21.6 kg.
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