Radioisotope Power Systems
3D model of Voyager's RTG
How does a rover keep driving on a planet with no gas stations? Shonte Tucker, Sabah Bux and Rob Manning power us through the ways Mars rovers keep going.
Podcast: The Power of the Rovers
A single RHU passively radiates about one watt of heat. When placed carefully aboard a spacecraft or inside a rover, the heat compensates for cold temperatures in beyond Earth.
What are Radioisotope Heater Units (RHUs)?
This is the first 360-degree panorama taken by Mastcam-Z, a zoomable pair of cameras aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover. The panorama was stitched together on Earth from 142 individual images ta...
Mastcam-Z's First 360-Degree Panorama
3D model of Curiosity's RTG
Ensuring the safety of launch-site workers and the general public in the communities surrounding the launch area is the primary consideration in this planning.
Mars Science Laboratory Launch Contingency Planning
Dynamic Radioisotope Power Systems (DRPS) NASA and the Department of Energy (DOE) are working together to enable more capable space missions through the development of Dynamic Radioisotope Powe...
Dynamic Radioisotope Power Systems (DRPS)
The Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator for NASA'S Mars 2020 Perseverance rover is shown during a fit check with the rover at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 16-17, ...
Rover Power System
An improved, color enhanced version of the 360-degree Gallery Pan taken by Mars Pathfinder in 1997.
Mars Pathfinder Panorama
Technicians at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida perform a fit check between the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover and its Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator on April 16-17, 2020.
Fitting the Rover's Power System
NASA's Perseverance Mars rover took this selfie over a rock nicknamed "Rochette," on September 10, 2021, the 198th Martian day, or sol of the mission.
Perseverance's Selfie at Rochette
Voyager 2 was launched on August 20, 1977, from the NASA Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral in Florida, propelled into space on a Titan/Centaur rocket.
Voyager 2 Launch
One chart showing all of the RPS powered and RHU-heated spacecraft and the planets they have explored
NASA RPS Missions: RHU-Heated and RTG-Powered Spacecraft Lithograph
This video shows the first 360-degree view of the landing site of NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars, as captured by the rover’s color Navigation Cameras.
NASA'S Perseverance Rover's First 360 View of Mars (Official)
Scientist for a Day is an essay contest that challenges students in grades 5-12 to think like scientists.
Scientist for a Day Flyer - 2020-21
Like a steady campfire that warms intrepid hikers in a remote forest, radioisotope heater units (RHUs) help bring dependable heat to wherever it’s needed for missions bound for the coldest corners ...
Radioisotope Heater Units
This illustration lists RHU-heated and RTG-powered spacecraft and the many moons and planets they have visited.
NASA's RHU-Heated and RTG-Powered Spacecraft
The first photograph ever taken on the surface of the planet Mars. It was obtained by Viking 1 just minutes after the spacecraft landed successfully landing on Mars in July 1976.
First Picture From the Surface of Mars
There are no gas stations or power outlets in space. That's why NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars — and some other NASA spacecraft that explore the solar system — use something called "radioisotope po...
Spacecraft Power for Mars Rovers (Curiosity & Perseverance)
Launched on June 29, 1961, Transit IV-A was the first satellite to carry a radioisotope power system into space.
RPS 60th: Transit IV-A Shareable
This video contains highlights of Space Shuttle mission STS-34, which launched the radioisotope-enabled Galileo spacecraft to Jupiter.
Galileo Launch and Deployment
3D Model of one of Cassini's RTGs
There are no gas stations or power outlets in space. That's why NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars—and some other NASA spacecraft that explore the solar system—use something called "radioisotope power."
Spacecraft Power (2016) - Archival
This panorama, taken on Feb. 20, 2021, by the Navigation Cameras, or Navcams, aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover, was stitched together from six individual images after they were sent back to Ea...
Perseverance Navcams 360-Degree Panorama
-- Updated as of March 2021 Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS) have provided the power to explore, discover, and understand our solar system and beyond. This graphic shows the type and destinations ...
Flyby, Orbit, Rove, and Land
Neptune's largest moon Triton, is seen in this mosaic of images captured by Voyager 2 during the only visit thus far to the Neptune system.
Voyager's view of Triton
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A Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) has powered the rover 24-7 for 1,000 days of science and exploration.
Perseverance Rover Deciphers Ancient History of Martian Lake
This shipment of 0.5 kilograms (a little over 1 pound) of new heat source plutonium oxide is the largest since the domestic restart of plutonium-238 production over a decade ago.
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NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft plans to observe Uranus and Neptune from its location far out in the outer solar system this fall.
All Eyes on the Ice Giants
The question of how Saturn developed its brilliant rings is still very much an engaging and open question.
All That Glitters: Saturn's Rings Estimated to Be "Young"