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The latest Mars rover being, NASA's Perseverance, uses the Multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator, which has a maximum power output at the beginning of it's operational life of 125 watts, which seems ridiculously low, as even a microwave consumes more power. How is a one tonne machine, with several scientific instrumentation and radio devices able to operate on such low energy consumption?

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    $\begingroup$ With a lot of carefully implemented engineering. And by doing this very slow and deliberately. The haste element in our daily lives causes us to want to do things in a short amount of time, hence the requirement for more power. $\endgroup$
    – NMech
    Aug 7 '21 at 6:45
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    $\begingroup$ I think you'll find that motors to move wheels can be surprisingly power frugal if you're not moving at blazing speeds. Also, a microwave consumes quite a lot of power compared to other things in your house nearly all the power that a single outlet can provide. The only things that consume more power are large appliances like stoves and maybe washers and dryers. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Aug 7 '21 at 6:46
  • $\begingroup$ Could weightless in space contributes to the saving in power? $\endgroup$
    – r13
    Aug 7 '21 at 11:48
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    $\begingroup$ A human can ride a bike all day (and travel maybe 200 miles) with a mechanical power output of less than 125 watts. A mIcrowave oven only uses lots of power because you want want to heat water (which has an abnormally high specific heat ) quickly. $\endgroup$
    – alephzero
    Aug 7 '21 at 13:43
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    $\begingroup$ @r13 The surface gravity on mars is about 38% that of earth. That is nowhere close to "weightlessness" $\endgroup$
    – alephzero
    Aug 7 '21 at 13:45

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