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Technical Paper

Performance Characteristics of Lithium-Ion Cells for NASA’s Mars 2001 Lander Application

NASA requires lightweight rechargeable batteries for future missions to Mars and the outer planets that are capable of operating over a wide range of temperatures, with high specific energy and energy densities. Due to the attractive performance characteristics, lithium-ion batteries have been identified as the battery chemistry of choice for a number of future applications, including Mars rovers and landers. The Mars 2001 Lander (Mars Surveyor Program MSP 01) will be among one of the first missions which will utilize lithium-ion technology. This application will require two lithium-ion batteries, each being 28 V (eight cells), 25 Ah and 8 kg. In addition to the requirement of being able to supply at least 200 cycles and 90 days of operation upon the surface of Mars, the battery must be capable of operation (both charge and discharge) at temperatures as low as -20°C.
Technical Paper

Performance Characteristics of Lithium-Ion Cells for Mars Sample Return Athena Rover

In contrast to the primary batteries (lithium thionyl chloride) on the Sojourner Mars Rover and the upcoming 2001 Mars Rover, the Mars Sample Return (MSR) Athena Rover will utilize rechargeable lithium ion batteries, following the footsteps of MSP 2001 Lander. The MSR Athena Rover will contain a rechargeable lithium ion battery of 16 V and a total energy of 150 Wh. The mass and volume of the projected power system will be a maximum of 3 kg and 2 liters, respectively. Each battery consists of twelve cells (6-7 Ah), combined in three parallel strings of four cells (16 V) each, such that the capability of the Rover shall be maintained even in the event of one string failure. In addition to usual requirements of high specific energy and energy density and long cycle life (100 cycles), the battery is required to operate at wide range of temperatures, especially at sub-zero temperatures down to -20°C.