The question discussed in this Exam talkback is about the power source for the New Horizons mission to Pluto. Part (b) of the question concerns the imaging system on the spacecraft. Not all physics specifications include this topic, and part (a) is a very straightforward calculation, so this article does not discuss student responses to parts (a) and (b), and only briefly discusses the answers expected for those parts. Instead it focuses on the last part of the question, part (c). This is a level-of-response (LOR) task that asks you to compare and contrast sources of power that could be delivered to the craft, in this case using sunlight as an energy source versus using the energy from radioactive decay. This is an example of an unstructured calculation. You will see from the students’ answers that there are many ways to approach this type of question.
This question is taken from the June 2017 OCR Physics B Paper 2, and is reproduced by kind permission of OCR. The answers that follow are the responsibility of PHYSICS REVIEW and have been neither provided nor approved by OCR.
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