Wind turbine

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Wind turbines can generate electric or pneumatic energy. Observed dust devils and dust storms proof the existence of wind in the atmosphere of Mars.

The viability of wind turbines is unclear due to different environmental conditions on Mars. The available knowledge about strength and duration of wind is fragmentary. Also, the global wind pattern is largely unknown. An experimental setup and additional explorations on Mars are needed to evaluate the efficiency.

If wind turbines are found to be of value, most, if not all, of the components could be fabricated using Martian resources.

Problem with thin atmosphere

The rotors currently used on Earth are not optimal for the thin Martian atmosphere. The rotor blades must be enlarged by a factor of 100 to make up for the thin atmosphere, maybe with a different shape. Calculations will show if this is feasible regarding stability and material consumption.

Problems with dust

Windblown dust could clog up moving parts. Also, maintenance could be expensive, for abrasion can not be avoided completely. Lubricant may be hard to produce on Mars and it might act different due to the environmental conditions, hence a construction without the need of lubricant is required, maybe pure magnetic bearings without direct touch.

Open Issues

  • What is the effect (efficiency) of thin air on the wind turbines?
  • What maintenance effort can be expected under Martian conditions?
  • What lubricant can be used under Martian conditions? What are the effects upon the lubricant?