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December 9th, 2017 by Michael Barnard
Elon Musk afresh absitively to taunt the apple with the adorable abstraction of sending his original Tesla Roadster into apogee about Mars arena Amplitude Oddity on its stereo.
This led to a Quora question and resultant acknowledgment by the alarming Sierra Spaulding. In turn, that led to a altercation of what would be appropriate to run a Tesla on Mars. Of course, this was an alibi for me to ask the Quora hivemind the question: What engineering changes would be appropriate to accomplish it accessible for a Tesla Archetypal X to run on Mars? After all, it will booty added than aloof putting acrylic acrylic on canvas as the artisan who corrective this clear-sighted painting did.
Being Quora, some bodies with abysmal acumen and acquaintance answered.
◊ Clayton Badeaux is allotment of the abutment agents on the PHOENIX mission to Mars
◊ Duncan Cairncross is a able engineer
◊ Ronak Chheda advised engineering at the Thadomal Shahani Engineering College
It was absorbing to apprehend what these acutely accomplished and astute bodies contributed, in accession to Sierra’s comments in assorted places. So, what did they accept to say?
At -120 degrees Celsius, best of the elastic $.25 of Teslas would fail. The better affair actuality would be the tires of course. They aloof won’t cut it. All of the liquids would freeze. And some of the metal $.25 would become so breakable that they would aloof fail. And again there is array temperature. Tesla batteries like animal survivable temperatures and abort rapidly if they are absolutely hot or cold. Of course, there’s the botheration of animal adaptation in a Mars Tesla. Heat and oxygen are needed. The Archetypal X will be actively bulked by insulation. But, of course, all of these problems are generally bigger for centralized agitation engines. Added hoses, liquids, and the like.
The atmospheric burden on Mar is about 0.6% of Earth at sea level. Obviously, the tires would acceptable aloof pop, but back they’d be breakable from algid anyway, it’s a bifold whammy. What’s added absorbing is that the batteries are advised to action in a assertive burden differential. With Mars’ pressure, the batteries would acceptable aloof pop. The air abeyance would be bashed too. Oh, what about the air bags! Of course, you accept a best of pressurizing the berth or actual in pressurized apparel for your joy ride on the Red Planet.
Yeah, Teslas were advised bold smooth, cottony tarmac. While there are bodies who use Archetypal Xs on clay anchorage and the like, no one pretends it’s a hardcore off-road machine. Despite the painting, anchorage don’t abide on Mars and won’t for a continued time. Dust, holes, and stones forever. 21″ humble auto aren’t activity to do abundant acceptable there. It’s acceptable that abundant beyond bore and beyond amplitude auto would be appropriate to ensure the car doesn’t abandon into a dust bowl. Article like the Mars Departer wheel, apparent actuality in a size-multiplying perspective, would be required. The Archetypal X would either accept to be jacked up or accept its axles continued to fit the appropriate wheels, and accepting jacked up would be appropriate in any event. Of course, that would acquaint the charge for a ladder.
Right now, Tesla Archetypal X owners accept bespoke service. Well-trained account bodies appearance up with the appropriate vehicle, tools, and accessories to fix their big-ticket car back it break bottomward or to backpack it abroad for servicing. It will be a while afore the agnate account appears on Mars. This agency choosy things are acceptable to go the way of the airhead bird. Automatically aperture doors? Added acceptable a simple and able-bodied automated arrangement that is impervious to the actual accomplished Martian dust. Delicately aperture falcon-wing doors? Maybe not.
The Tesla Archetypal X is a bodies mover with the adeptness to tow almost low-weight trailers and put in some baggage or skis. On Mars, grocery shopping, commuting, and branch to the bank to kitesurf aren’t activity to be top of mind. For decades, Mars would be a alive colony, disturbing to survive and in audible charge of the alveolate amplitude central a Archetypal X for things added than brazier seats. Rip those out and put in fold-down benches forth the ancillary for cartage and leave the average accessible to bandy advantageous actuality in, like solar panels.
Limited solar and no alley agency attention activity and bad traction. Peeling out in one of Tesla’s nuttier modes won’t be necessary. In fact, the Earth apprehension of actuality able to biking 400 kilometers at 120 km/h is out the window entirely. I’d be afraid if a car alcove 100 km/h on Mars in the aboriginal 40 years of colonization alfresco of falling off a aerial cliff. So, the agent ascendancy systems will all be acquainted to lower speeds.
Well, at atomic not as it exists today. The aboriginal DARPA claiming in 2004 that kicked off the accepted excess of companies claiming that they accept the abstruse booze was absolutely an off-road course. But alike then, GPS existed. The aboriginal affair that would be appropriate for any somewhat free active would be a cord of GPS geosynchronous satellites, and that acceptable won’t be a antecedence of the aboriginal decade. Lots of bodies accept been talking about GPS satellites for Mars, including discussions about whether it’s alike accessible to do austere analysis and colonization after them, but they acceptable won’t be there Day 1. Back to ancient means of establishing position. There will be orbiting satellites that can augment high-definition images of position and destinations so that routes can be planned, but that’s able-bodied beneath the advice akin acceptable for a agent to drive itself. There will assuredly be some disciplinarian abetment appearance to anticipate bodies from active off cliffs and the like, but Lane Ascendancy won’t be needed.
Did you apperceive that aggregate that acreage on Mars has to be sterile? Scientists and the bodies who accomplish the rules about added planets are actual afraid about Earth bacilli communicable conflicting baptize and any abeyant lifeforms that abide there. This doesn’t amount abundant on best of Mars as anybody agrees that the all-inclusive majority is a sterile, arctic desert, but it does amount for the afresh apparent water. The Curiosity departer wasn’t accustomed to go anywhere abreast the allegedly clammy clay apparent abreast its position. So the Archetypal X apparatus would accept to be accumulated from blemish in a apple-pie room, again packaged for addition to Mars and final accumulation there. What’s that, you say? Bodies would be accomplishing the accumulation and they wouldn’t be sterile. Yup, that’s a catchy one. Appropriate now there’s a Catch 22, which has the capital aspect for activity on Mars — baptize — actuality present, but alike addition out how to analysis it scientifically is challenging, never apperception bodies bubbler it.
Okay, so we can’t aloof accelerate a Tesla to Mars. What’s the acceptable news?
This is absolutely why electric cartage are blame base on the gnarliest acropolis ascend in the world, the Pikes Peak International Acropolis Climb. While centralized agitation motors alpha accepting abashed from abridgement of oxygen, electric motors aloof accumulate sucking volts and climbing. That Mars is like a abundance 3 times the acme of Everest doesn’t amount to electric motors. Centralized agitation motors, on the added hand, do charge oxygen.
So you are on Mars. It’s appealing accessible to cycle out your thin-film solar panels and blot up some watts. Finding oil, adorning it, and accepting it to your Cadillac?
Not so much. And aircraft thin-film solar to Mars is abundant easier than aircraft a tanker of gasoline.
Want to to off-road on Mars? We’ve already done it and the auto are scalable. Mars Departer auto can calibration up and it’s been done. The sub-40% force on Mars makes the cantilevered armament abundant added manageable. Big, scalable, and with no pressurized bits.
Did you apperceive you can go camping in affluence in a Tesla appropriate now on Earth? Climate control, bottle roof, and no bitter insects at the amount of 7% of ambit per night. Translate that to Mars and maybe 20% of the circadian sunlight is adapted into you and the batteries activity comfortable.
Unless Tesla has done article absolutely stupid, absorption ascendancy should assignment aloof fine. And it will be absolutely all-important on Mars back accomplished dust is a lot added like snow than sand. After accepting apparent any of the absorption ascendancy cipher or sensors on a Archetypal X, a MEMS sensor that detects cogwheel arbor rotational speeds and reduces ability to one of them is a basal feature. It’s abundant easier on electric cartage than on centralized agitation cartage because the torque and ability curves are so abundant flatter, so advantage Archetypal X there. What’s best absorbing to me is that in adjustment to get the 0–60 mph times Tesla currently manages, they acceptable accept adult models of downforce for anniversary agent at altered speeds so that they can aerate traction, but maybe they aloof do it from basics. Obviously, downforce on Mars is 38% of Earth’s while accumulation and appropriately apathy abide unchanged, so they ability accept to abuse the cipher for that.
So, you could retool a Tesla Archetypal X and drive it about on Mars. But it apparently wouldn’t end up attractive like a Archetypal X. The departer that Mark Watney collection about in the cine based on Andy Weir’s abundant book The Martian is abundant added acceptable to be what the afraid agent would attending like.
And if the aboriginal Tesla Roadster SpaceX is activity to try to bandy into Mars apogee anon with the aboriginal analysis of its Falcon Heavy rocket — if that’s absolutely absolute — absolutely makes it, it will acceptable break in amplitude and never be brought bottomward to Mars. It wouldn’t run, as it would aloof be a accumulation of metal and breakable rubber.
Michael Barnard works with startups, absolute businesses and investors to analyze opportunities for cogent basal band advance in the transforming low-carbon economy. He consistently publishes analyses of low-carbon technology and action in sites including Newsweek, Slate, Forbes, Huffington Post, Quartz, CleanTechnica and RenewEconomy, with some of his assignment included in textbooks. Third-party accessories on his analyses and interviews accept been appear in dozens of account sites globally and accept accomplished #1 on Reddit Science. Abundant of his assignment originates on Quora.com, area Mike has been a Top Writer annually back 2012. He’s accessible for consultation, speaking engagements and Board positions.
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