MERCED, Calif. — UC Merced has partnered with NASA on a unique project: creating spray-on solar cells that will allow them to make solar panels in space. "All of our energy in space comes from solar and the need to make it cheaper and more feasible for the larger and larger space missions that we’re trying to accomplish is huge," said William Delmas, a grad student at UC Merced and part of the group working on the project with NASA. The process involves a substance called perovskite ink, which is sprayed on a surface and creates a thin film that harvests light. This process is far cheaper than making a traditional, silicon-based solar panel. Those panels, which are currently in use by NASA, have to be made on Earth and transported for use in space, costing tens of thousands of dollars. The perovskite panels would be able to be made in space. "So, this has the advantage of us basically being able to have like a little pod that just sprays solar cells," Delmas said. "And then we can create vast arrays of solar cells, you know, football fields large that basically can provide as much energy as we […]

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