Wireless charging system for NASA lunar robots

November 20, 2020 // By Nick Flaherty
Wireless charging on the Moon
Astrobotic, Bosch and the University of Washington are working with WiBotic on a wireless charging system that will work on the Moon.

A $5.8m project is developing a wireless charging system that can be used on the Moon based on technology from WiBotic.The contract with prime contractor Astrobotic is part of NASA’s ‘Tipping Point’ program to overcome challenges associated with charging robots on the lunar surface.

“For Wibotic this is an exciting time. We have had robots charging up using our technology in the air, underwater and now here we are in outer space. The reason why we are so excited is NASA has really stepped up their efforts in working with technology companies and startups,” said Ben Waters, CEO of WiBotic told eeNews Europe.

“NASA wants lunar night survival so they can test and explore as it can be as cold as 200ºF and can last for up to 14 days without sun so solar panels are not viable. Surviving regolith [Moon dust] is challenging as it can be finer than dust and works its way into connectors and its conductive so it wreaks havoc and causes robots to fail,” he said.

“Wireless charging is a great for this as you don’t have to be perfectly aligned, and that works as there’s a lot of uneven surfaces,” he said.

Using wireless charging on Astrobotic’s CubeRover is the first project, along with a charging system on the lander that will also provide a 4G basestation. But it could also be used for many other battery powered tools and robots, says Waters.

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