Electric Cars on Mars and Earth How They Stack Up Curiosity Rover Space com

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Eliica (Electric Lithium-Ion Car)

Electric Cars on Earth and How They Stack Up

NASA’s rover Curiosity took self-portrait, composed of more 50 images using its robotic MAHLI camera, on Feb. 3, The image shows Curiosity at the Klein drill site.

A hole is visible at bottom

Credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS/Marco Di Lorenzo/Ken

Electric cars may still second fiddle to gas-guzzlers on Earth, but they ve dominated the driving scene for more a decade.


NASA s tiny rover hit the red dirt in 1997, by the golf-cart-size twins Spirit and in 2004. And last August, the Curiosity rover dropped in to whether Mars could have supported microbial

All three generations of six-wheeled rovers have used power systems of various and complexity to find their way the Red Planet. [Electric Vehicles to Deep Space (Photo ]

On Mars. there was no other said Curiosity strategic lead Nagin Cox, of s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, There isn t a gas station.

This of two test rovers and a flight provides a graphic comparison of generations of Mars rovers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Calif. The setting is JPL’s Yard testing area. and center is the flight spare for the Mars rover, Sojourner, landed on Mars in 1997 as of the Mars Pathfinder Project.

On the is a Mars Exploration Rover test rover that is a sibling to Spirit and Opportunity, landed on Mars in 2004. On the is a Mars Science Laboratory rover the size of that Mars rover, Curiosity, is on course for landing on Mars in 2012.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

From to nuclear power

Most cars on the road today on lithium-ion batteries, which be plugged in and recharged on a regular Mars rovers are millions of from the nearest electrical or charging station, so they a different tack.

The 25-lb. kilograms) Sojourner generated using solar arrays, a set of three small, nonrechargeable chloride batteries serving as

The much larger Spirit and also rely primarily on panels. Unlike Sojourner, they sport rechargeable batteries, which allow greater functionality when the sun isn t

Curiosity, on the other hand, is by a radioisotope thermoelectric generator which converts the heat by the radioactive decay of plutonium-238 electricity. RTGs have many NASA deep-space over the decades, including the Voyager spacecraft, which are on the door of interstellar space.

Like Spirit and Opportunity, the Curiosity also employs two lithium-ion batteries to give it juice when needed. How Electric Spacecraft Could Fly to Mars ]

The batteries enable s power subsystem to meet power demands of rover when the demand temporarily the onboard multi-mission radioisotope generator (MMRTG) steady level, the Curiosity team in a mission update shortly the rover s nerve-wracking landing, saw it lowered to the Martian surface on by a rocket-powered sky crane .

Improving on Earth and Mars

NASA’s Sojourner Mars rover about 330 feet (100 over 83 days on the Red Planet in

Eliica (Electric Lithium-Ion Car)

Credit: NASA

As battery improves, electric cars on are getting better and better, greater power and increased The baseline configuration of Tesla s S, for example, can go 208 miles (335 on one charge and accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (97 in 5.9 seconds, according to the company.

Mars rovers keep with each iteration as Sojourner carried one science and three cameras, and it lasted 83 on Mars before conking

Spirit and Opportunity have six cameras and three science along with three scientific instruments.

While rovers were originally with three-month prime to seek signs of past activity on Mars, Spirit was declared dead in 2011. is still going strong more than nine on the Red Planet, and just broke the record for longest distance on the surface of another world.

One we ve definitely learned is, never bet Opportunity, Cox, who also has working on Spirit and Opportunity s told SPACE.com.

Curiosity is the biggest and most Mars rover yet, officials say. It sports 10 scientific instruments and 17 cameras, and its RTG keep powering the robot for a or more.

Curiosity and its kin are built for not speed, so they can t keep up the Model S or any other electric car on the today. Curiosity s top speed on hard ground is 1.5 inches per which works out to 0.09 mph km/h).

Because they re so and steady, Mars rovers can t compete with terrestrial vehicles (EVs) in terms of Sojourner traveled a total of 330 (100 meters), while put 4.80 miles (7.73 km) on its

Opportunity has covered 22.20 (35.76 km) thus far, short of the all-time record for distance traveled by a robot on the of another world. The Soviet s Lunokhod 2 rover traveled 23 (37 km) on the moon in 1973.

Curiosity has covered just feet (700 m) since its on the Red Planet. But the rover should on an epic 5-mile (8 km) drive to the of the mysterious 3.4-mile-high (5.5 km) Sharp in the next month or so, scientists say.

Eliica (Electric Lithium-Ion Car)
Eliica (Electric Lithium-Ion Car)
Eliica (Electric Lithium-Ion Car)
Eliica (Electric Lithium-Ion Car)
Eliica (Electric Lithium-Ion Car)
Eliica (Electric Lithium-Ion Car)

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