Power from Sunlight – Powering space exploration with solar energy
In this set of activities, students will learn about two concepts that influence solar panel design for space missions: the inverse square law and the angle of incidence.
Students will perform two simple investigations using a photovoltaic cell (solar cell) and a light source.
First, they will measure how the power produced by the solar cells varies with distance from the light source and attempt to retrieve the inverse square law for light intensity experimentally.
Students will then conduct a second experiment to investigate the dependence of the power output for the solar cell with the angle of incidence. Lastly, they will apply these concepts to real ESA space missions.
Experiment Assembly: 20 minutes
Lesson: 1 hour and 30 minutes
In this hands-on activity, students will calculate the power output of a solar panel by measuring the electric current and electric potential difference and try to retrieve the inverse square law from their experimental measurements.
In this activity, students will learn about the importance of the angle of incidence and the benefits of optimally positioning solar cells. Through an experiment, they will measure how the angle of incidence influences the power output.
Did you know?
Solar panels on the ISS
Brief description: In this set of activities, students will build an understanding of germination and plant growth by following the development of three unknown plants
Astronaut Logbook: A week in the life of an astronaut with Samantha Cristoforetti Your Mission: Follow Samantha’s routine at the ISS for one week