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> Possible design for a Venus lander!, Could one survive at the surface?
Daein
  Posted: Apr 13 2006, 04:28 AM


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I was thinking about landers for Venus. None of them can survive more than an hour because of the pressure and temps. But maybe they could make a probe out of ceramics. Motors that can't over heat have been made of ceramics, and NASA already has a highly heat resistant ceramic: space shuttle tiles.
The inside of the lander could either be completely filled out with some kind of injectable ceramic (kind of like plaster of Paris), or if moving parts were required some non-conductive substance that's fluid at those temps.
Also all the electronics in the craft would have to use ceramic casings and substrates instead of plastics. I think they'd have to look to the past for the electronic components because even though silicon based chips won't melt at that temp the energy from the heat will destroy the fine chip structures anyway. So the guts would probably have to be based on pre-microchip technology. Slow for sure, but if all your lander does is cache and punt the data up to an orbiter for further processing it wouldn't be a big deal. Putting the electronics together might be a problem too since sodder will obviously melt on Venus. Either some conductive ceramic putty would need to be used or some other metal that has a higher melting temp but not as high as the electronic component's melting temps
The power source would be another issue. Most people would probably think solar panels would work, but most of the energy from the sun never reaches the ground on Venus and the heat would destroy the panels. Some nuclear source would probably be required. Keeping in mind it's not how much heat you have but the difference in heat. A highly radioactive substance would have a higher than ambient temp on Venus and could heat and expand some fluid to generate energy or possibly through thermoelectric power generators.
I'd think that a lander like that would be able to survive on Venus for quite some time. A similar scheme might even work for deeper penetration into Jupiter's atmosphere. Anyone else have thoughts on this?
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555Joshua
Posted: Apr 13 2006, 05:51 PM


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Are the space shuttle tiles resistant to acid? If not....


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KCWebMonkey
Posted: Apr 13 2006, 07:26 PM


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Would we even be able to land on Venus with constant hurricane-force winds?
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Daein
Posted: Apr 13 2006, 08:51 PM


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Soviet landers have already made it. Here is a pic on Wikipedia:

User posted image

taken on the surface of Venus by Venera 13. Those landers just didn't survive long because they burned to a crisp after an hour or so.

As for the acidity of Venus I don't think the surface has the acid because it's way too hot. It would just need to be able to survive the acidity of the clouds. Which is probably quite possible, especially since it's already been done by the Venera landers.
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555Joshua
Posted: Apr 14 2006, 01:11 AM


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I just don't see the point of sending something to Venus if you know it'll only last a few hours (in referrence to the Soviets).


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puk
Posted: Apr 14 2006, 02:31 AM


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ohmy.gif I think that its amazing that they even managed to penetrate the clouds. Did you see the planet is??? One day is longer than it's year!!! One part constantly toward the sun...scorching hot man!!!!!
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555Joshua
Posted: Apr 14 2006, 11:24 AM


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A good 900 F makes it the hottest planet in the solar system.


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Aireal
Posted: Apr 14 2006, 02:43 PM


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A very good topic. If memory serves me, a polished diamond was used as the exterior lens for the camera to resist the acid and temps of Venus. Ceramics would be a good choice for the landers hull. After you mentioned it I started to wonder why they were not used befor. The only reason they might not use ceramics is fear of them breaking or falling off, as ceramics are brittle. Still I think you are on the right track in suggesting ceramics, surely they can be modified for the job.

As for the pre-microchip electronics, I assume you mean the old vacuum tubes. I grew up with them, and for some uses they are still better than current microchips. The tubes would have to be made out of quartz to withstand the heat, but thats not a problem, we been doing that for years. Protecting the board that connects them is the problem. Perhaps an onboard cooling system using liquid nitrogen could help in this reguard.

Thats all I can think of at this moment, keep the ideas flowing.
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gnoob
Posted: Apr 14 2006, 04:12 PM


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One possible way to extend the life of a lander would be to use all that heat as a power source. i.e. to convert it to mechanical or electrical energy. That converted energy doesn't have to be used for anything, it would just slow the rate at which probe heats up.
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Daein
Posted: Apr 14 2006, 04:38 PM


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The problem with using Venus' heat as a power source is the temperature inside of the lander will eventually reach equilibrium with the outside and that would make power generation impossible. You need a difference in energy levels so you can harness the energy as it tries to flow from one place to another.

Yeah ceramics are brittle, but there are some new ceramics that can withstand the impact of small bullets which might work well. As for the electronic board some kind of ceramic could be used, a cooling system probably wouldn't too long. The only problem with using ceramics with electronics is that the ceramic board would be hard to work with when putting it together.

The biggest issue for the whole plan would be weight. Especially if it was full of some kind of liquid and ceramics are heavy. Although if you made the lander right you could cut down the weight and have some kind pressurized non corrosive gas inside like helium insted of liquid. The lander would just be more expensive to make that way.
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555Joshua
Posted: Apr 15 2006, 11:58 PM


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Aluminum is a good conductor of heat. It could be used to transfer the heat, but put it where? blink.gif The refrigerator method could be used to lower the temps a tad.


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