Kites on Mars to produce energy

Generating energy is a real challenge on Mars. The robots there are powered by solar energy, but the panels can get dirty due to dust from the Red Planet. Researchers may have found an original solution based on kites.

How do you generate enough energy on Mars to allow a human base to survive in such a hostile environment? We obviously think of solar panels, which power the rovers that currently roam the surface of the planet. But you should know that Mars receives only 43% of the sunshine of the Earth.

Energy for a Martian base

In addition, solar panels collect dust, which further reduces their capabilities. It may even happen that these panels become completely inoperative. Using wind turbines would be a good idea: the winds, which are more powerful on Mars than on Earth, could be used to power a turbine. But sending wind turbines and batteries on site is impossible, this equipment is too heavy.

ESA, the European Space Agency, has therefore launched an ideas competition to harness renewable energy on the red planet. A team of researchers from the University of Delft, in the Netherlands, hit the mark with their project: kites attached to drums! The principle is to use the power of the Martian wind to pull the cable of the kite, which itself would turn the drum, thus creating energy.

The atmosphere of Mars being less dense than that on Earth, the kites will have to measure 50 square meters. To this would be added large solar panels of 70 square meters: these two methods would be enough to produce 127 megawatt hours each year, enough to power five homes in the United States, or a base on Mars.

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