This 3D animation shows the main components of the latest generation of nuclear generators used to provide power for some NASA missions that explore the solar system. The MMRTG—or Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator—is provided to NASA by the Department of Energy. In addition to power for spacecraft, excess heat from the generator can be used to keep spacecraft systems warm enough to complete mission objectives.
While its appearance is slightly different, the basic components of the MMRTG are similar to previous generations of RTGs used by to power NASA spacecraft.
The MMRTG is the power source for NASA's Curiosity Mars rover, which is currently exploring Gale Crater on the Red Planet.