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Theoretical: Cooling systems on Mars

  1. Nov 15, 2013 #1
    OK, before I get into the main question, I figure I should give a little background.

    First off, this is not something that is going to be made for real. It's for a flight simulator called Orbiter (found here), and in particular for a personal project to update and improve upon the existing Mars base, Olympus Base.

    Background: I'm in the process of making a roughly designed Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor to provide heat and electricity to the base, and I've hit the point where I need to consider how to dispose of excess heat. My early ideas for it (over a year ago) involved using the iconic nuclear power plant cooling towers, but with radiators in the "throat" area where it necks down. I now know that this isn't feasible, and I'm figuring some sort of radiator is needed. I already have a heat exchanger on the "hot" (radioactive) loop, and the coolant flows into a turbine.

    The question now becomes, how does the radiator connect to the turbine exhaust? Should the coolant flow from the turbine into the radiator, or should it go through another heat exchanger, which then runs a second type of coolant into the radiator?

    Keep in mind, this is on Mars, so there's almost no atmosphere to speak of (~1% of sea level on Earth), and that this doesn't have to be perfect: it just has to be feasible.

    In short, should there be a third loop? If so, what should be the working fluid in each loop? (reactor temps are around 700°C)

    Thanks in advance,
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 20, 2013 #2
    Try using the ground as a heat sink. If made large enough it might work.
  4. Nov 22, 2013 #3
    Hrm... Need to check if there's any significant amounts of permafrost at the base location. If there isn't, that might be a viable backup option.
    However, the heat could melt any ice deposits, creating water that could be used by the base...

    I need to do some research. Thanks for the idea!
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