Power and thermal control

One of the largest consumers of electrical power, both on spacecraft and in households, is heating. While electrical heating is convenient and controllable, electrical energy is a more expensive asset than thermal energy, thus wherever a purely thermal-energy storage or source system can be used (either radioisotope heater units, or phase-change materials) instead of electrical energy for thermal control, it may be advantageous to do so. Similarly, if thermal control is a significant driver, e.g. during Martian night, it may make sense to oversize solar arrays and dissipate the 'extra' power as heat in the lander.

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