Meteorites from Mercury in the desert of southern Morocco

portable solar system with backpack

On display in the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale is a rarity amongst rarities – the largest piece of the only known 35 small fragments of a single meteorite from the planet Mercury. The fist-size stone known as NWA (Northwest Africa) 7325 is a dark greenish space rock that was found in the desert of southern Morocco in 2012, and is believed to be the first and only meteorite on earth from the planet Mercury. The chemical composition of the meteorite provides the strongest evidence that it came from Mercury – high magnesium, high chromium, and low iron content, similar to those of Mercury, and magnetism that matches that of Mercury exactly.

HHBR of MM Imports does not agree with the scientists at Yale that NWA 7325 is the only chunk of Mercury that found its way to Earth, and he aims to prove his theory. Planning an extended 8-week scientific mission to the desert of southern Morocco, HHBR approached Powerenz with a request for portable solar charger that could provide lots of energy for multiple electronic devices, including one satellite phone, one portable mass spectrometer, GPS, cell phones, rechargeable flashlight and headlamp batteries, digital cameras, one handheld device that measures specific gravity and/or density, and one laptop computer. The portable solar laptop charger component of the main system would be used daily.

According to HHBR, the peak power draw at any given moment would be approximately 160 watts. The total energy used on any given 24-hour day would be approximately 500 watt-hours. All of the electronic devices and small battery chargers can be operated via 12 volts DC.

That portion of the Sahara Desert that occupies southern Morocco is located at approximate latitude 30 degrees north, approximately 2000 miles north of the Equator. Insolation maps of southern Morocco indicate 5.5 – 6 hours/day of peak sunshine in the region, though HHBR’s colleagues in Morocco assure him that there are 10-12 hours of good sunshine every single day during the summer months, and never any rain. Traveling by jeep caravan, HHBR indicates that the total weight of the portable solar charger can be 100 pounds, and there will be no hauling of heavy objects over long distances.

Work begins in the Powerenz shop in Kennesaw, Georgia where a pair of LFP 40 Sling Pack systems are designed and assembled. The combined 176 watts of solar array, 1024 watt-hours of battery energy storage capacity, efficient MPPT solar charge controllers, integrated electronic safety circuitry, multiple 12-volt DC access points, and durable carrying packs that comprise the portable solar charger package will certainly get the job done. Being no AC outlets nearby or within 1000 miles, AC-powered chargers for the two system batteries would not be necessary. For their cell phones, standard automobile USB adapters would be provided. See the photo below:

If one assumes only 5 hours per day of strong peak sunshine, the pair of 88-watt solar panels would be expected to generate 880 watt-hours of energy in one late morning to mid afternoon interval. In 6 hours of strong sunshine, one would expect the two solar panels to completely recharge the two 40 amp-hour lithium chemistry batteries from empty to full. After dark, the scientists could use their portable solar laptop chargers to operate their laptop, small battery chargers, and other devices for as many hours as they require. During the days, the small rechargeable batteries they use to operate their other devices would remain fully charged. One week after their order was received, the pair of LFP 40 portable solar chargers were assembled, tested, packaged, and shipped. The total weight of the two systems was 76 pounds. Two weeks into their adventure, HHBR reported that the pair of portable solar laptop chargers were performing beyond expectations, that the sunshine was amazingly unbearable, the temperature during the afternoons reached 120 degrees, there was no shade, no rain, never enough cold water and/or drinks, and that travel via camelback would have been more suitable than via jeep. On subsequent adventures, the one piece of gear they would add to their list would be an energy-efficient, portable refrigerator to cool their drinks

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