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Insight Dust Fix

Insight Solar Panels Fold and Shake
  [vote for,

The solar panels on Insight fold out like a Japanese fan. If there were spaces all along the radial edges of the pizza-slice sections of the panel instead of piano hinges the entire 'fan' could be partially closed, making the panels almost vertical, and a "shaker" could be used to loosen the dust. An attempt was made to dump some sand on the panel to move the resident dust off, but it had limited success and was abandoned. But, if the panels could be brought to a vertical orientation any solution would benefit from Mars' gravity.
minoradjustments, Aug 09 2021

Martian blow job https://www.aerialp...of-its-mars-rovers/
[a1, Aug 09 2021]

Insight playing in the sand https://twitter.com...1400485445960560646
[a1, Oct 07 2021]

windscreen wipers everywhere [pocmloc, Oct 07 2021]

Missions to Mars https://en.wikipedi...of_missions_to_Mars
Let's see YOU get everything right the first time - or even in the first dozen. [a1, Oct 07 2021]

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       Or you could helicopters/drones to blow the dust off ((link)
a1, Aug 09 2021

hippo, Aug 09 2021

       The electrostatic charge in the super dry Martian atmosphere seems to be stronger than the wind the props can generate. I think a micro-shaker on an almost-vertical panel would work better. Maybe both?
minoradjustments, Oct 07 2021

       // electrostatic charge ... seems to be stronger than the wind the props can generate // [citation needed]   

       I know static cling was a factor, but I hadn't read that it was actually too strong for the props to blow it off. In practice, what Insight did to clean the dust off was to drop sand ON the panels -- and the Martian wind (not prop wash) managed to blow it off along with previously accumulated dust. Sounds crazy but it worked (link).
a1, Oct 07 2021

       They've been sending probes to Mars for ages. You would think they would include a brush for the solar panels by now. Probes have plenty of manipulator arms for using one. Having efficient solar panels in kind-of important.
neutrinos_shadow, Oct 07 2021

       // Having efficient solar panels IS kind-of important. //   

       But then it couldn't have been a plot detail in Andy Weir's "The Martian" ...   

       // You would think they would include a brush for the solar panels by now. //   

       We'll put you in charge of that development. Don't worry if your first efforts don't work out -most of the missions to Mars fail (link).   

       Maybe it IS rocket science after all.
a1, Oct 07 2021


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