Various space agencies have faced problems due to excessive heat while sending their spacecrafts to Mars. When an aircraft is coming back to earth, the increased temperature of the aircraft does harm to the craft making it non-reusable. At Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, scientists are trying to figure out a solution for that by coming up with new technology and experimenting so that faster dissipation of heat on entry is possible.
It has also been estimated that this new technology will help in reducing the cost required to travel to mars drastically. Not only this, the craft will also be reusable.
As a spacecraft descends back to earth, a huge amount of heat is generated due to the high speed.
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The heat generated is so much that it can harm the spacecraft and also requires a special coating of Thermal Protection System (TPS) which helps to reduce the damage by acting as a barrier between the heat and the aircraft.
Currently, aircrafts use “albation” coating as they enter the martian layer which burns the TPS material into a hot gas.
According to Prof K P J Reddy from the Department of Aerospace Engineering at IISc, while considering reusability of a spacecraft, the Ablation cooling is very expensive.
The team at IISc Bangalore are trying to come up with an alternative. They have found a new method called the “transpiration” cooling which can be used in the place of albation cooling. According to this new method, a coolant gas will be passed out of the spacecraft through a porous wall that absorbs the heat and gets blown away.
This coolant gas will be present on the outer surface of the spacecraft and will absorb the heat generated by the spacecraft while descending down.
In order to check the effectiveness of the new system, scientists conducted the experiments under same conditions as the Martian atmosphere and that too under different internal energy levels, pressure conditions and volume.