A demonstration of a fuel cell that will allow rovers on extraterrestrial surfaces to go further and last longer will be conducted at NASA’s Glenn Research Center on 29th February at 11 am.
This new type of PEMFC will extend the range of surface operations for rovers that will explore new worlds as part of future NASA missions. Instead of needing a pump to remove the water produced inside the device, this non-flow-through fuel cell uses capillary action to wick away the water. By eliminating the pump, a non-flow-through fuel cell is simpler, lighter, and potentially more reliable.
The rover that will demonstrate the fuel cell in Glenn’s Simulated Lunar Operations (SLOPE) facility is called SCARAB. It was developed by Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute, Pittsburgh, under a grant from Glenn, and is regularly used for Human Robotic systems project mobility research in SLOPE.
The demonstration will mark the first time this novel fuel cell technology is tested outside the laboratory setting. During the event, reporters will have the opportunity to see the rover respond autonomously to commands given to it. They will also be able to talk with researchers involved in the demonstration.
The demonstration is supported by NASA’s Modular Power Systems project under the Advanced Exploration Systems Program and NASA’s Space Power Systems project.