Questions tagged [solar-power]

Questions on obtaining electrical energy from the light of the Sun through either direct photovoltaic conversion or thermal conversion.

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13
votes
4answers
877 views

Manufacturing solar cells on the Moon

How practical is it to manufacture solar cells on the Moon? I understand there is a lot of silica there, and in theory if we could robotically make and deploy solar cells on the Moon, then we would (...
3
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2answers
327 views

What are low-mass ways of supplying power for a 4.5kW ion thruster?

I'm in the process of designing a spacecraft for a project, and I'm at the stage of choosing the propulsion system. I'm going to use a Boeing 702 ion thruster (requiring 4.5kW) for propulsion, to ...
24
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3answers
5k views

Why didn't Gemini, Apollo or STS use solar panels?

Short-duration flights (Vostok, Voskhod, Mercury) use several-kWh batteries. Space stations use photovoltaic cells for their high power-to-weight ratio. The longest mission duration accomplished with ...
8
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2answers
2k views

Solar flux on (not at) Earth

I'm trying to find out if there are reliable values for the solar flux received on Earth. I realise this will change with location, time of day, season, weather etc. but I'm surprised that I can find ...
1
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2answers
339 views

What is a reasonable cost estimate for space solar power (SSP)? [closed]

What is a reasonable cost estimate for the following: A single space solar power station beaming power to earth via laser or maser and one associated receiving station? The following complex: A moon ...
10
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1answer
339 views

Why does DSCOVR appear to be missing solar cells?

In recent photos of DSCOVR I've noticed it appears to be missing eight solar cells in its array. In photos from the original "unboxing" from storage it appears to have all its cells. Why is this?
7
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2answers
843 views

Why aren't landers designed to point their solar panels and radio antennas to Sun and Earth?

Opportunity, the rover on Mars, is on its tenth year. Wow! But its solar panels are fixed flat on top of it. As are those of all interplanetary landers which I know of. Why aren't they designed to ...
9
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3answers
3k views

How will Dragon v2's solar panels be protected during launch on top of Falcon 9?

When Elon Musk unveiled Dragon v2 last year, we got our first truly good look at what SpaceX's crew vehicle is like. Apart from the ability to propulsively land, one of the big changes was the lack of ...
5
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1answer
229 views

Would it be practical to use a rover with a cable to a power and communication station?

Geology Dr. Paul Spudis (who was on the Clementine Lunar orbiter mission) has an interesting step-by-step proposal for exploration of potentially extractable water ice at the Lunar poles. It includes ...
3
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2answers
183 views

Is it feasible for a future Rosetta type mission to use wireless transfer of power to Philae?

While listening to the latest updates it seems like there is a limited 60 hour battery capacity left for Philae. There seems to be some information on the web on wireless power transfer using lasers. ...
14
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2answers
2k views

Do solar panels on satellites gather dust and need cleaning?

As a follow-up to Does cosmic dust pose a problem for long-term satellites, telescopes and probes?, assuming satellite's long duration stay in Earth's orbit – let's for the sake of argument assume a ...
6
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1answer
638 views

Could a solar thermopile be enough to power a small satellite?

It seems that a nuclear thermoelectric generator was used to power spacecrafts for some exploration missions. Can a thermopile that harvest the light/shade temperature difference on Earth's orbit be ...
7
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3answers
339 views

Will space-based energy beamed to earth increase heat on earth?

A Japanese paper on beaming energy from solar installation on the moon to earth via laser and microwave recently made the rounds in the media. Would this, or any space-based energy system cause a net ...
15
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1answer
332 views

How long could Solar Impulse fly in the Venerean atmosphere?

Extremes of temperature, and pressure serve to effectively constrict the life-span of a PV cell on the Venerean surface. Despite the cloud cover, the Venus' proximity to Sol makes for upto 1km ...
10
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1answer
1k views

What is the average intensity of sunlight on the Venerean surface?

A follow-up to How much more power does a PV cell generate in Venerean orbit? NASA writes to say about Venera 8 ... measured the light level as being suitable for surface photography, finding it ...
8
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1answer
266 views

Does Juno use MPPT?

MPPT aka Maximum Power Point Tracking is an active mechanism to collect maximum power a PV cell may deliver. This is typically achieved by varying the resistive load connected to a cell. Juno will ...
8
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1answer
856 views

How much more power does a PV cell generate in Venerean orbit?

Spacecraft in terrestrial Solar System typically use PV cells to power their instruments. As the referenced Wikipedia article writes, Photovoltaics (PV) is a method of generating electrical power ...
18
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2answers
4k views

Why does Curiosity use an RTG rather than solar (as Spirit and Opportunity do) for power?

Why did Curiosity choose to go with nuclear power? While solar panels have issues with Martian dust, this was a known factor before the 2004 Spirit and Opportunity mission. Why then did the 2004 ...
9
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1answer
1k views

Peltier cell as solar cell in space

There's a related question: In space can the difference in temperature between the inside and outside, provide useful energy? The problem with that one is that it relies on the concept of "hot inside"...
18
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2answers
3k views

How far from the Sun can solar power be used as a reliable energy source?

Space probes headed for the far reaches of our Solar System rely on radioisotope thermoelectric generators for power (Cassini–Huygens, Voyager 1, Voyager 2). Presumably this is because solar power ...

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