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Power in the Jool system


ruiluth
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With a Jool transfer window coming up in a few days I've decided that it's time for me to send a mission to Jool. Actually six missions, one for Jool and one for each of its moons. Additionally, R&D has determined that it would be really great to get surface and ocean samples, so they've requested two Laythe landers as well. The ocean probe is pretty simple, but I've decided that I want a rover for the land. The problem I'm running into is that I don't have large solar panels unlocked yet, nor RTGs or fuel cells. So my question is, are solar panels feasible sources of power all the way out at Jool with the nerfed solar panel curve? Or should I hold off on the rover until I can find a better source of power?

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I've done most of my Jool missions with just solar. Admittedly that mostly includes the Gigantor, but still... Also I haven't used a rover there (odd that, my first rover experiences were bad and I haven't gone back to try better yet).

I'd say it's perfectly doable. If you don't have the RTG, the one absolutely vital thing is you have to make sure that whatever position your craft find themselves in relative to the sun, they have to get enough power to cover probe core usage and charge batteries. In practical terms, that means every craft needs a pair of 6-segment solar panels. I'm not sure about the large static panel - I haven't really looked at its stats yet.

So yes, with enough batteries and the standard (retractable, especially for Laythe) 6-segment panels, you can certainly do this.

Landing on land on Laythe will be a challenge. You can't leave solar panels deployed as you come though the atmosphere, so for safety you need to make sure that your craft is aerodynamically stable (no need to use power to hold retrograde or whatever) and/or your engines have an alternator (so if you use the aerospike [doubtful, considering what you've unlocked...], you need to be sure that batteries have enough charge to last the whole time you're moving in the atmosphere) and/or you have large battery reserves and/or you add a couple of static panels and/or you pilot manually without a probe core. Once down on the ground, you can afford to take breaks to let the rover recharge, so again it's just a question of optimal battery size to do what you think you'll want to do with it.

 

Edited by Plusck
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4 hours ago, Plusck said:

I've done most of my Jool missions with just solar. Admittedly that mostly includes the Gigantor, but still... Also I haven't used a rover there (odd that, my first rover experiences were bad and I haven't gone back to try better yet).

I'd say it's perfectly doable. If you don't have the RTG, the one absolutely vital thing is you have to make sure that whatever position your craft find themselves in relative to the sun, they have to get enough power to cover probe core usage and charge batteries. In practical terms, that means every craft needs a pair of 6-segment solar panels. I'm not sure about the large static panel - I haven't really looked at its stats yet.

So yes, with enough batteries and the standard (retractable, especially for Laythe) 6-segment panels, you can certainly do this.

Landing on land on Laythe will be a challenge. You can't leave solar panels deployed as you come though the atmosphere, so for safety you need to make sure that your craft is aerodynamically stable (no need to use power to hold retrograde or whatever) and/or your engines have an alternator (so if you use the aerospike [doubtful, considering what you've unlocked...], you need to be sure that batteries have enough charge to last the whole time you're moving in the atmosphere) and/or you have large battery reserves and/or you add a couple of static panels and/or you pilot manually without a probe core. Once down on the ground, you can afford to take breaks to let the rover recharge, so again it's just a question of optimal battery size to do what you think you'll want to do with it.

 

Excellent advice, thank you. I think it'll turn out fine, or at least I hope so considering that I've already launched it :D

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