Bas Lansdorp’s ‘crazy idea’ to produce solar panel parts on Mars

  The head of Mars One is aiming high with the hope of eventually producing parts of solar panels on the second smallest planet. Bas Lansdorp is the man behind […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha
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The head of Mars One is aiming high with the hope of eventually producing parts of solar panels on the second smallest planet.

Bas Lansdorp is the man behind the project that aims to establish a permanent habitable settlement on Mars, with the first mission set for 2032.

He told ELN while the long term feasibility is yet to be explored, the baseline design and solution for energy generation in the short term is solar power.

The first settlement is expected to install approximately 3,000 square meters of power generating surface area.

Mr Lansdorp said he is brainstorming “crazy ideas” – one being the possibility of producing and storing heat and power on Mars.

He added: “Instead of sending solar panels from Earth, one idea might be to produce parts of the solar panels on Mars, for example, just a crazy idea, produce plastic film on Mars and then print the solar panel electronics, basically on to the panel that you’ve produced on Mars and cover it with a really thin transparent film. And that would reduce your ‘imports’, so the say, from Earth, which is of course really expensive, it would reduce it to a few percent of the total weight of the solar panel. That will be really interesting.”

He believes batteries for energy storage will also be crucial and the system is being scaled to deal with the longest winter night to ensure it has enough capacity to power through.

The mission, however, eventually hopes to store heat instead of electricity – by implementing another “crazy idea” of using aluminium for energy storage.

Mr Lansdorp adds the option of nuclear power is also available but he is “not a fan” due to public opposition towards the energy source.

However, he is “almost convinced” that either just solar power or solar complimented by a “very small” nuclear reactor will be the short term solution on Mars.

Mr Lansdorp is the headline speaker at Energy Live Future on 7th June at the Crystal in London.