How does DS1's electrical system work?
DS1 has solar panels that collect the Sun's light energy and convert it into electricity. The more light they receive, the more electricity they can make. If the panels get turned away from the Sun, even by a small amount, the efficiency of the solar collectors greatly decreases.
In most circumstances, all efforts are made to keep the solar panels pointed directly at the Sun. When it isn't possible to point the panels straight at the Sun (such as when the probe is hidden from the Sun by a planet or meteorite, or is forced to point in a different direction for a science experiment) DS1 switches to batteries for its power. When the solar panels are directly facing the Sun, there is often more electricity made than can be used at that moment. The batteries are charged during those times. New in DS1 is technology called a solar concentrator, which is a kind of lens that intensifies the amount of light getting to the solar panels. This makes the solar panels much more useful.
As a spacecraft gets farther from the Sun, it's solar panels can make less and less electricity. Usually by the time a spacecraft gets to Mars, there isn't enough light to make electricity. DS1's power will drop off after DS1 gets past Mars.
How do solar panels convert the Sun's energy into electricity?
How do solar concentrators work?
What happens to a ship when it runs out of power?
What are batteries?
How do the solar concentrators work?
How does solar electric propulsion (ion propulsion) work?
Why are solar panels become less useful the farther they are from the Sun?
What is efficiency?
What DS1's battery life?
What role does the Sun play in space missions like DS1's?
How is the ion propulsion in DS1 solar powered?
Why is the ion propulsion on DS1 solar powered?
How much power does DS1 use? How much power does it produce?