For humans Mars isn't cold: there is little atmosphere to remove the waste heat from metabolism and life support equipment.

But for electronics lacking an RTG, heat loss is a problem. Ingenuity, being so small, spends a lot of it's power on heating in order to keep it's batteries from freezing. Winter is a serious threat.

Could we design electronics to withstand the cold rather than require constant heating? Batteries would go dormant at -100C but if they are designed to survive a freeze-thaw cycle could they be revived by passive solar heating?

  • $\begingroup$ related cpushack.com/2015/04/09/the-e2v-powerpc-and-hitce-packages Thermal expansion is just one of the problems. $\endgroup$ Aug 26, 2022 at 3:44
  • $\begingroup$ Would the economics of doing so be justified? I imagine developing electronics & electrical systems to function in ultra cold could be scientifically difficult & the small number of units that would be made for off-Earth usage would be small thus making the cost of development & manufacture of each unit potentially very expensive. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Aug 26, 2022 at 7:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Fred: Since space is already very expensive would this further increase be noticeable? There has been discussion about a Venus rover with a larger bandgap in it's electronics to operate at high temperatures, so it isn't out of the question. $\endgroup$ Aug 26, 2022 at 7:19
  • $\begingroup$ You end up focusing on the battery and that is absolutely the problem. On Exomars Rover, there are electronics that sit outside the main structure and see the extreme temperatures; they are warmed before use to bring them into operating limits. The problem is keeping the battery within safe limits - then you have to worry about battery chemistry rather than electronics. And once the battery gets cold, it is unlikely that you can get it warm again via passive heating. $\endgroup$ Sep 1, 2022 at 11:39


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