Could cymatics keep Martian dust off solar panels?

In summary, Cerenkov thinks that NASA should consider using vibrations to clean the panels of future Mars probes. He thinks this would be a more efficient use of power than using the panels' power to clean themselves.
  • #1
Cerenkov
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Hello.

I went to my local astronomy club last night and the subject of diminished solar power caused by dust came up in conversation. We looked at images of the Insight mission and these showed a significant build up of said dust. This got me thinking.

Could the solar panels of future Mars probes be designed to use cymatic cleaning? A controlled vibration passing through the panels might cause the dust to move in a planned way. If the panels themselves were shaped in some way as to take advantage of this then could the dust be somehow 'channelled' away from the solar cells?

These are just ideas that occurred to me, by the way. I'm no engineer or acoustics scientist. Do you think there's any mileage in my idea?

Thank you.

Cerenkov.
 
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  • #2
Cerenkov said:
Could the solar panels of future Mars probes be designed to use cymatic cleaning? A controlled vibration passing through the panels might cause the dust to move in a planned way.
That sounds plausible to me. Power consumption would be a concern.

You should try to research NASA publications to see if they have investigated vibrations as a method of cleaning the panels. My guess is that any idea such as yours that has promise would have been investigated.

If not, then maybe you could apply for a research grant. The idea would have to be proved in a laboratory before gaining credibility.
 
  • #3
anorlunda said:
That sounds plausible to me. Power consumption would be a concern.

You should try to research NASA publications to see if they have investigated vibrations as a method of cleaning the panels. My guess is that any idea such as yours that has promise would have been investigated.

If not, then maybe you could apply for a research grant. The idea would have to be proved in a laboratory before gaining credibility.

Thanks anorlunda.

As I said, I'm no engineer, but if I had to hazard a guess about power consumption, it might run something like this.

The earthbound demonstrations of cymatics that I've seen seem to show that only a brief period of vibration (several seconds?) is needed to achieve a desired result. If that power expenditure is enough to clean the panels for a period of days or weeks, then I think the trade off might be worth it. Whatever you power you lose cleaning the panels would be gained back by the improved efficiency of more sunlight hitting them.

But, that's just a guess.

Thanks,

Cerenkov.
 
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  • #4
So I was sitting in my car today as it went through the car wash, and I was wondering the same thing -- what kind of simple mechnism could be attached to the solar panel assembly to periodically clean it off? There must be something that can be done... :wink:

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  • #5
The Perseverance Mars mission has the Ingenuity drone copter. I wonder why they don't use the drone to blow the dust off the Perseverance solar panels. Maybe they do.
 
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  • #6
anorlunda said:
The Perseverance Mars mission has the Ingenuity drone copter. I wonder why they don't use the drone to blow the dust off the Perseverance solar panels. Maybe they do.
But not blow the dust from the ground up on to the panels? I'd bet it could help, but it sounds a bit tricky to me.
 
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  • #7
Flying that close to the rover sounds like a big risk. It could also add dust from the time before/after Ingenuity is above the rover.
 
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  • #8
Cerenkov said:
Do you think there's any mileage in my idea?
Well, sure. Certainly a possible direction for future research.
It's just... At this point the InSight mission is long over the originally planned length. The fact that the problem popped up so late indicates that the plans for the original timeframe of the mission were sound, no solution were needed for no problem :smile:

anorlunda said:
Perseverance solar panels
Erm... For as many as Perseverance has, gremlins would do too :wink:
 
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Related to Could cymatics keep Martian dust off solar panels?

1. How does cymatics work?

Cymatics is the study of how sound waves interact with matter. It involves using sound frequencies to create patterns and shapes on a surface, such as a plate or a membrane. When sound waves pass through a medium, they cause the particles in the medium to vibrate, which in turn creates the patterns and shapes.

2. Can cymatics be used to keep Martian dust off solar panels?

Yes, cymatics can potentially be used to keep Martian dust off solar panels. By using specific sound frequencies, it may be possible to create patterns on the surface of the solar panels that repel the dust particles. This would keep the panels clean and allow them to continue functioning efficiently.

3. What are the benefits of using cymatics for this purpose?

One of the main benefits of using cymatics to keep Martian dust off solar panels is that it is a non-intrusive method. Unlike other methods that involve physically cleaning the panels, cymatics does not require any contact with the panels, which reduces the risk of damage. Additionally, it is a sustainable and low-cost solution.

4. Are there any potential drawbacks or limitations to using cymatics for this purpose?

While cymatics shows promise for keeping Martian dust off solar panels, there are still some limitations and potential drawbacks. One limitation is that the effectiveness of cymatics may vary depending on the type and amount of dust present on the panels. Additionally, the technology and equipment required for cymatics may not be readily available on Mars.

5. Has cymatics been tested for this application?

At this time, cymatics has not been specifically tested for keeping Martian dust off solar panels. However, there have been studies and experiments that have shown the potential for using cymatics in this way. Further research and testing would be needed to determine its effectiveness and feasibility for use on Mars.

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