1
$\begingroup$

From an answer to Astronomy SE question How does Titan maintain the atmosphere

Titan in Saturn's magnetic field

And we know the idea of generating electricity with a coil orbiting through a planet's magnetic field is sound in principle, if you've any doubts see answers to the Physics SE question Can the Earth's magnetic field be used to generate electricity?.

Put together this suggests a potential solid state source of electricity that doesn't require any fuel that will last indefinitely.

For a probe on Titan's surface (perhaps one monitoring atmospheric density & composition) as little as one hour of full power & radio contact with Earth once a week or so may be adequate especially for a backup power system.

So I was just wondering if it has either been proposed, used or tested by any Titan missions to date.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The answer to the question you linked states: Electrical charge is generated through a changing magnetic field. As for whether or not the magnetic field at Titans orbit is inconsistent enough to generate magnetic flux in significant quantities at a small enough gradient for a probe to use... I'd doubt it but do not know. The gradient of a planets magnetic field is not 100% homogenous at a macro level. At a micro level- it is essentially homogenous. $\endgroup$ – Magic Octopus Urn Sep 17 at 16:30
  • $\begingroup$ If any of that is false, feel free to correct me, it's just info I gathered from your linked question and small amounts of personal knowledge. $\endgroup$ – Magic Octopus Urn Sep 17 at 16:40
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ You don't get free electrical energy by moving a coil through a magnetic field. A changing magnetic field is necessary to generate current in the coil and the orbital speed will be reduced when kinetic energy is transformed into electrical energy. $\endgroup$ – Uwe Sep 17 at 20:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Uwe do you think it's an appropriate question to ask how "the orbital speed will be reduced when kinetic energy is transformed into electrical energy" mathematically? Because the physics questions claim this with no basis, yet I completely believe it due to conservation laws and the fact that this may "push against" the field, for lack of better knowledge or words. P.S. sorry about the comment spam, I am very interested in this Q's math. $\endgroup$ – Magic Octopus Urn Sep 17 at 20:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Uwe : Surely the magnetic field of Saturn that Titan moves through isn't entirely the same at all points & Titan's orbit isn't 'completely' un-eccentric, which can only exaggerate (if only a bit) any fluctuations : When the coil in question is sat on a body with the mass & momentum of Titan then any "orbital speed ~ reduced when kinetic energy is transformed into electrical energy" must be negligible past the point of consideration. $\endgroup$ – Pelinore Sep 17 at 21:34
4
$\begingroup$

To my knowledge no mission has attempted to generate electricity from Titan/Saturn's magnetic fields (or Jupiter's for that matter), a list of missions to-date includes:

Planned missions include:

None of these make mention of generating electric energy from magnetic fields.

$\endgroup$
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Hope you don't mind, but I did research on all missions (planned or historical) to Saturn and added them to your answer. If you deem the edit not helpful, feel free to revert. +1 for a straight-forward answer though :). $\endgroup$ – Magic Octopus Urn Sep 17 at 20:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.