On September 17th, a crew of six emerged from an 8-month long expedition in a simulated Mars environment (aka the Mars Hab) on Mauna Loa, Hawaii. This off-grid project of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has been powered by Blue Planet Energy’s Blue Ion energy storage system since 2013.
NASA uses the Mars Hab to create an environment to simulate the experience of living on Mars and to study the interaction of crew members. This was the fifth mission completed by the NASA-funded HI-SEAS program (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) operated by the University of Hawaii. The crew live in a dome about 1,200 sq ft and must wear full space suits to leave the dome. While there they complete experiments, completed exercises and maintained equipment in and around the dome, all while under observation.
The dome’s power is generated by a 10 kW array of solar panels DC coupled with 30 kWh of Blue Ion super-high performance Lithium-ion batteries. After originally installing 20kWh in March 2013, the system was upgraded to 30 kWh in March 2015 to accommodate the load from additional test equipment installed in the facility. Blue Ion has such a minimal degradation curve we were able to add more storage to the system three years after original installation! Blue Ion provides reliable, renewable, maintenance-free energy for the Mars Hab and will for many more years and missions!
For more on the daily conditions and challenges the crew faced, see the article and video on Space.com
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