NASA eClips: Solar Power in Space
Learn how NASA technologies use alternative energy. Solar sails propel spacecraft through space. The International Space Station, or ISS, catches sunlight to provide electricity and oxygen to the station.
This short video discusses many new solar technologies being developed by NASA such as solar sails for propulsion and enormous solar arrays the size of a football field to power the ISS.
Solar sails use the energy carried by sunlight to push against hundreds of square meters of reflective, and light-weight, plastic film to move a spacecraft outwards from the sun. This required no fuel or heavy engines on the spacecraft.
Solar energy is also captured by solar cells to generate electricity, which has been a staple of spacecraft design for over 50 years.
NASA also uses batteries, fuel cells, Radioisotope Thermionic Generators (RTGs) and nuclear power for non-solar energy generation.(2:37 minutes)
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