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NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts

SCEPS In Space - Non-Radioisotope Power Systems for Sunless Solar System Exploration Missions (Phase II)

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

SCEPS In Space - Non-Radioisotope Power Systems for Sunless Solar System Exploration Missions (Phase II)
Stored Chemical Energy Power Systems (SCEPS) have been used in U.S. Navy torpedos for decades. The Penn State Applied Research Lab proposes to continue the study of applying this robust, high-energy-density concept to exploration missions that can't be powered by sunlight. Plutonium could be used, but its scarcity leaves many targets unexplored. In the NIAC Phase II study we will mature the Venus mission studied in Phase I and expand understanding of SCEPS for other targets. Testing will be done to determine SCEPS performance using CO2 as an oxidizer (Venus' atmosphere), and the Venus mission key risk areas addressed. Venus science goals will be revisited to prepare the Venus concept for the next level of study. Also, we will engage with the leaders in science planning for small bodies (asteroids and comets), outer planets (Jupiter's and Saturn's moons), and robotic missions to our own Moon and make a determination of the first, most high-impact use of SCEPS in space. More »

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