NASA knows that conventional battery power won't cut it at a certain point, especially when the agency's vehicles travel into deep space. To that end, it's asking both public institutions and companies to submit proposals for battery alternatives. The initiative will tackle both low-level energy cell design, such as chemistry and packaging, as well as advanced devices that could outperform existing lithium cells. Ideally, NASA will get energy storage that provides more power without taking a hit to either longevity or safety.
[Image credit: NASA]It's too soon to say when the organization will choose winners, but it will hand out cash awards to the four most promising candidates from the first phase of its selection process. There's no guarantee that NASA will find the improved power source that it's looking for. If successful, though, the effort could make deep space exploration a far less daunting prospect.