I've been playing around with ideas for an open source lunar rover. It's based on the Stanford Doggo (video) robot.

Are there commercial off-the-shelf rechargeable batteries that might work for such an application? Obviously the battery would need to work in a vacuum. For the purposes of this discussion, let's assume that the design provides radiation shielding.

  • $\begingroup$ Batteries require a comfortable temperature during a moonlit night. Other questions are not a problem. $\endgroup$
    – A. Rumlin
    Commented Sep 6, 2019 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ @A.Rumlin OP has specified that the battery must work in a vacuum. Which off-the-shelf (OTS) batteries function reliably in a vacuum? Which ones don't outgas, or leak, potentially damaging other components? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Sep 6, 2019 at 23:11
  • $\begingroup$ random factoid; UN 38.3 is a specification for OTC batteries to withstand low pressure of a commercial airline depressurization. It's obviously not the same as being in space. This video shows a test at 1/8 of an atmosphere at room temperature for six hours, followed by cycling between -40 C and +70 C ten times, nowhere near the challenge of being in a lunar rover. However this certainly doesn't mean that no OTC batteries can work on the Moon, just that they don't necessary have to. youtu.be/yCaLhngFwbg?t=58 $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Sep 6, 2019 at 23:27
  • $\begingroup$ Manufacture of lithium pouch batteries (the kind in some phones) does involve some vacuum processing to degas the electrolyte, which is promising. Here's a NASA paper about testing some lithium pouch batteries (not OTS) from 2006 ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20060020764.pdf fyi I have just asked Do Phonesats and GoPros work with their internal batteries in space vacuum? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Sep 6, 2019 at 23:47
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You're largely asking the wrong question: vacuum can be easily dealt with by putting the battery in a sealed container, and radiation is largely a non-issue. The really difficult part is dealing with temperature extremes, and that is hugely dependent on the design of the rover and how long you intend it to last. If it is only to operate for a lunar day, you only need to worry about overheating, which simplifies things a great deal. If you want it to survive a lunar night, you start involving things like radioisotope heaters, which are a bit more difficult to acquire. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 7, 2019 at 0:26


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