This maybe sound obvious, but you can’t charge your spacecraft with an extra long power cord — which is why batteries are clutch for space, powering everything from electric tools and spacesuits to satellites and planetary rovers. But sending a battery into the cosmos means more than just loading it onto a rocket: batteries must be built to withstand the extreme temperatures of the space environment, and they also have to be packaged so that they don’t harm any astronauts if they accidentally explode.
Many deep-space vessels are equipped with solar panels for power, so most space batteries are used for storing energy on spacecraft to use when the Sun is out of sight. That happens when these vehicles temporarily pass between a planet and the Sun, for instance, blocking light from view. Batteries are crucial for keeping the vehicle powered until sunlight remerges. But batteries also power the life support systems on astronauts’ spacesuits, as well as tools and other portable electric items needed to repair the outside of the International Space Station.
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