A report describes the development of a lightweight thermal insulation system for Martian surface applications. The ambient Martian atmosphere, which is predominantly carbon dioxide at a pressure of 10 torr, is used as the insulation medium with a modest multiple radiation shield enclosure. The carbon dioxide has a thermal conductivity that is very close to traditional insulation, and the carbon dioxide is naturally available on the Martian surface. Preformed Mylar spacers that are affixed to the hardware create the necessary standoff distance from the enclosure.
This work was done by Gajanana Birur, Glenn Tsuyuki, and James Stultz of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. To obtain a copy of the report, "Novel light weight Thermal Insulation for Martian Environment using Carbon Dioxide gas," access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free on-line at www.nasatech.com/tsp under the Materials category.