Spirit Gets Energy Boost from Cleaner Solar Panels

A small but important uptick in electrical output from the solar panels on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Spirit this month indicates a beneficial Martian wind has blown away some of the dust that has accumulated on the panels. The cleaning boosts Spirit’s daily energy supply by about 30 watt-hours, to about 240 watt-hours from 210 watt-hours. The rover uses about 180 watt-hours per day for basic survival and communications, so this increase roughly doubles the amount of discretionary power for activities such as driving and using instruments. Thirty watt-hours is the amount of energy used to light a 30-watt bulb for one hour

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