Gallery: NASA’s Juno Spaceship to Jupiter Will Make the Most Distant Us...


NASA is prepared to launch a mission to Jupiter this week that will probe deep into the planet’s clouds to reveal what it is made of. The Juno spacecraft will also make history by being the most distant space probe to use solar panels as its primary source of electricity. The decision charts a new course for deep space missions that traditionally used a radioactive battery, and it stands to prove the viability of solar technology even when the sun is 5 times further away than it is from our home planet.

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  1. caeman August 2, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Given the presence of Jupiter’s massive radiation, would there be a way of harnessing that as an energy source once the probe is in orbit?

  2. lazyreader August 2, 2011 at 7:54 am

    The performance degrades from 15 kilowatts to 420 watts. This move was done for cost effectiveness not environment in mind. JUNO is not a long term mission. If this were a lengthy mission they’d use an RTG. RTGs are the only way to provide constant power for years at a time from such significant distances away from the sun. Just like all the other probes like Voyager, Pioneer, Viking, Cassini-Huygens, Galileo, New Horizons, Ulysses, and the new Curiosity rover due to launch soon.

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