Tuesday, August 21, 2007
No, really, the future is solar
A data point on the march to solar power's inevitable triumph: NASA's Juno mission to Jupiter will be powered by solar panels. This is remarkable. Previous Jovian missions have been powered by on-board radioactive generators because solar panels couldn't possibly gather enough sunlight at Jupiter's distance to power the on board electronics. The sunlight available at Jupiter's distance is only 1/25th to 1/30th of the energy streaming through space at Earth's distance from the sun, so being able to sustain an unmanned space probe on such thin nourishment is truly a remarkable accomplishment.