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Lithium-Ion rechargeable batteries on Mars RoverNASA's Mars Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, have been roving on the surface of Mars, capturing impressive images of its terrain and analyzing the drillings from Martian rocks, to answer the ever -puzzling questions of life beyond Earth and origin of our planets. These rovers are being enabled by an advanced rechargeable battery system, lithium-ion, for the first time on a space mission of this scale, for keeping the rover electronics warm, and for supporting nighttime experimentation and communications. These rover Li-ion batteries are characterized by their unique low temperature capability, in addition to the usual advantages associated with Li-ion chemistry in terms of mass, volume and energy efficiency. To enable a rapid insertion of this advanced Li-ion chemistry into flight missions, we have performed several performance assessment studies on several prototype cells over the last few years. These tests mainly focused primarily on the long-term performance characteristics, such as cycling and storage, as described in our companion paper. In addition, various tests have been performed on MER cells and engineering and proto flight batteries; under conditions relevant to these missions. For example, we have examined the performance of the cells in: a) an inverted orientation, as during integration and launch, and b) conditions of low rate discharge, between 3.0-2.5 V to support the mission clock. Likewise, we have determined the impedance of the proto-flight Rover battery assembly unit in detail, with a view to asses whether a current-limiting resistor would be unduly stressed, in the event of a shorting induced by a failed pyro. In this paper we will describe these studies in detail, as well as the performance of Li-ion batteries in Spirit and Opportunity rovers, during cruise and on Mars.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Document Type
Conference Paper
External Source(s)
Ratnakumar, B. V.
Smart, M. C.
Ewell, R. C.
Whitcanack, L. D.
Chin, K. B.
Surampudi, S.
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
August 15, 2004
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Science And Exploration
Meeting Information
Meeting: 2nd International Energry Conversion Engineering Conference
Location: Providence, RI
Country: United States
Start Date: August 15, 2004
End Date: August 18, 2004
Distribution Limits
2003 Mars Exploration Rover (MER)
Li-ion batteries

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