Bill Nye's Solar Powered Spacecraft

It keeps going, and going, and going ... how does the Juno space probe have enough power to travel to Jupiter? Junior astronauts use a THNKR "Why with Nye!" video to discover solar-powered science with the one and only Bill Nye. Topics include the amount of solar energy the probe receives at various distances during its mission, as well as how NASA used breakthroughs in solar energy to ensure the craft was able to perform its measurements once it arrived at its destination.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Work the video into a lesson about solar power, space exploration, or innovations in technology
  • Want to know more about Juno's solar-powered electrical system? Visit the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab's website for all the details, as well as a related Common Core Math activity for grades six and eight
Classroom Considerations

  • Make sure pupils understand how solar cells generate electrical energy before viewing the video
Pros

  • The resource is a great example of an alternative energy source at work
  • Narrator illustrates why the Juno space probe would have difficulty getting enough solar power with a simple demonstration
Cons

  • None
Common Core