Mars is becoming a proving ground for the lifetimes of lithium-ion batteries. The Phoenix Mars Lander is carrying Lithion modules from Yardney Technical Products Inc. When it lands on May 25, after a 423 million mile journey, the batteries will power the vehicle at night when solar panels can’t. Yardney’s intergalactic durability was already proven in the Mars Exploration Rovers launched in 2003. One of the spacecraft’s jobs will be to study the history of water, reusing instruments from two earlier Mars landers, one that failed to work and one that wasn’t launched.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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