Solar Week - Ask a Question

Come here during Solar Week (next one: March 22-26, 2021) to interact. To post a question, click on your area of interest from the topics below, and then click on the "Ask New Question" button. Or EMAIL or tweet or plant in Answer Garden your question about the Sun or life as a scientist to us -- and watch for it to appear here.  You can also visit our FAQs (frequently asked questions). In between Solar Weeks in October and March, you can view all the archives here.

PrevPrev Go to previous topic
NextNext Go to next topic
Last Post 10/27/2014 12:50 PM by  Pat Reiff
Solar power on robots
 1 Replies
You are not authorized to post a reply.
Author Messages



10/26/2014 9:19 PM
    How far have spacecraft traveled in our solar system that use solar energy as their power source?

    Pat Reiff

    New Member

    New Member

    10/27/2014 12:50 PM
    When spacecraft go to Jupiter and farther, the sun's energy flux (energy per square meter per second) gets very weak and they would need very large solar cells.

    For a while, the DAWN mission was the farthest mission to use solar cells. It hays very large solar panels ( see ). DAWN orbited one asteroid, Vesta, and is now heading to explore another asteroid, Ceres (which is now classified as a "dwarf planet").

    More distant missions (Voyager, Cassini, New Horizons) use radioactive thermoelectric generators (RTG's).

    However, one mission is on its way to Jupiter now, and it does have solar cells - JUNO.

    It has now passed DAWN as the farthest spacecraft to use solar cells. Even though it has traveled more than 10 AU, it has still not reached Jupiter yet, which is 5.2 AU from the Sun.

    You can see where all the missions are by downloading the "Eyes on the Solar System" application.

    You are not authorized to post a reply.

    Twitter Feed

    Scientist Leaderboard

    Name # of replies
    Multiverse skin is based on Greytness by Adammer