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In July we announced a new partnership with the innovative tech startup Tespack from Finland. Tespack produces outdoor-ready, wearable solar panels which are already integrated in a backpack or can be attached to your own backpack or the smaller ones to your handbag.
What impressed us the most was the high efficiency (20%!) of their monocrystalline solar cells. So you can imagine that it felt like Christmas when we first unpacked the delivered Tespack parcel. Inside were a set of attachable smartpacks and portable solar power banks.
Both smartpacks and portable solar power banks come with a huge set of adapters, so that you certainly can power any of your devices from portable computers, tablets, smartphones to GPS devices, headphones etc. Moreover, with the attachable smartpacks come five detachable straps, which let you attach the device to almost anything. Very thoughtful is that you can store the mobile charger and for example even your tablet or smartphone nicely inside the smartpack bags.
Using solar power for #simulateMars activities
Power is a very critical aspect of all our Mars analog simulations. First of all, the simulated outpost on Mars – which we call BASE – is very energy hungry. All communication & science data is collected there and send to Earth. BASE serves as habitat for the field crew, so this is usually powered by generators.
Then we do have several WiFi antennas placed at strategic points of our exploration area. They need power as well, to ensure that analog astronauts on EVA (Extra-Vehicular-Activity) can communicate to BASE all the time.
Furthermore, the Aouda spacesuit simulator needs power for the OBDH (On-board-data-handling) system. Without it no communication, no ventilation, no sensor data, no head-up-display etc. would work.
And finally our SAFETY – a person who shadows analog astronaut during an EVA to ensure safety of the analog astronaut – needs to be in communication contact all the time with the analog astronaut in the Aouda spacesuit as well as with BASE. And this is where the Tespack equipment comes into play. A SAFETY person is always with the analog astronaut outdoor on EVA, wearing a safety backpack which essential equipment in case of an emergency. All communication works via smartphone over WiFi. Having the communication channel open all the time on your smartphone you can imagine how fast it drains the battery. During our last simulations this was a big challenge. With the solar smartpacks of Tespack we will be able to power a SAFETY smartphone during the whole EVA and therefore make Mars simulation activity safer.
Our next test campaign is scheduled for the first week of January 2017 and we are really looking forward to see the Tespack equipment in action.
And to the Tespack team: we will challenge your power banks as we will go to -110°C ;-)
This article is available in: German
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