National Aeronautics and Space Administration is now on the lookout for a new battery that is able to keep its spacecraft energized throughout the new expedition. This battery NASA hopes will be able to take space aircraft further away from the earth than ever before. The older lithium and hydrogen batteries will remain inadequate to power astronauts embarking on record distances.
It is in line with its new requirement that NASA announced it was offering up to $250, 000 for alternative battery solutions that can help power deeper Earth and space missions.
The Next 18 Month Plan
NASA is planning to launch a huge research initiative over the next 18 months to develop technologies that are proving the leading obstacles to achieving a cost efficient and safe space travel. NASA plans to work on 4 proposals that will be divided into two main categories. The first of them is related to upgrading current battery technology and looking to enhance current battery components such as chemistry packaging and cell integration.
The second are on the other hand will focus on new ideas and proposals to exceed the limitations of the current lithium batteries.
Development of Battery
The Department of Energy will fund around $120 million into the labs for plans to develop batteries. The investment will be made in labs, facilities, research, and private United States Companies. There is already a host of positive developments happening in the field of battery research. This promises to be an interesting competition. Lithium battery developments have already had considerable investments of time, energy, and resources; hence it is best for market experts to look beyond these qualities.
Reduction of Fuel
All of these efforts that are underway make sense not only because they are being done to try and allow for greater deep space exploration. They also coincide with ongoing efforts by NASA to reduce reliance on liquid fuels for energy. The cost of liquid fuel transportation in space and its finite nature have made it one of the top priorities of NASA to replace.
In fact, a large number of NASA equipment have already moved on to implement various traditional liquid fuels such as small nuclear reactors and solar energy technologies. In addition to this, there have also been ambitious plans to build fueling outposts on the moon and other nearby planets to refuel the aircrafts in their journey. Here robotic equipment would mine resources there and gather fuel for refueling of aircrafts.
Flywheel Electromechanical batteries
NASA is already claiming to have developed alternatives to conventional chemical batteries that are able to match if not exceed the storage capacity of chemical batteries. The recent advancements in lightweight and strong composite materials, NASA has been able to develop flywheel electromechanical batteries. These batteries will work using an electric motor. The metal disk will be spun by the electric motor that will be able to charge energy and run a generator. The generator will this take this kinetic energy and turn into electrical energy.