`` NEWTON: Watts per Square Meter Reception from Voyager 1
 
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Name: Jim
Status: educator
Grade: 9-12
Location: CA
Country: USA
Date: Summer 2013


Question:
How many watts per square meter did NASA receive from Voyager 1 at time of recent reception? (June 2013)

Replies:
Hi Jim,

Thanks for the question. Voyager 1 has electrical power courtesy of radioisotope thermal generators which utilize Plutonium-238. At present, after accounting for the decay of Pu-238, Voyager 1 has about 225 W of electrical power. Voyage 1 is about 200 AU units of distance from Earth at present. Since, the intensity follows an inverse square law, use the equation I = P/(4*pi*R^2) where I is the intensity in W/m^2, P is the power output of the Sun in W, and R is the distance from the Earth to Voyager in m. You will need to convert AU (astronomical units) into meters.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have more questions. Thanks Jeff Grell


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