NASA Spinoff magazine is an annual review of all the technologies that were invented as a byproduct of the US Space Program. Northern Power has a long history of working with the US government and NASA, so when a reporter from Spinoff Magazine called wanting information, we were all too happy to provide the complete story on how the NPS 100 started life with funding from NASA.
Back in the early 1990s, NASA was planning manned missions to Mars and needed a power source that would take care of everything a human being would need for a long term stay on the Red Planet. They knew about Northern Power Systems’ wind turbine at Black Island off the coast of Antarctica and provided a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to construct a similar wind turbine at the South Pole, which was completed in 1997. Based on the 3 kW turbine at the South Pole, Northern Power began developing a 100 kW turbine that could function in the same extreme conditions. By 2000, Northern Power Systems had won an R&D Award from R&D Magazine and since then it’s duplicated, updated and advanced the technology that started out heading for Mars, but eventually was installed in hundreds of locations on our own planet.
Over the last two decades, NASA has developed and deployed a number of unmanned space craft to Mars. They still plan to send a manned mission someday. Northern Power Systems would love to be along for the ride, providing the same clean, renewable energy for Mars that we do right here on planet Earth.
To view the 4-page article in Spinoff Magazine, visit http://spinoff.nasa.gov/Spinoff2013/index.html. You can download the complete magazine.
For further reading, Phys.org profiled the story: http://phys.org/news/2014-05-mars-tech-electrifies-earth.html