Learn about isotopes and radioactive decay. See how NASA uses the predictable decay of certain elements to power spacecraft in remote locations. Find out why a Radioisotope Power System, or RPS, provides dependable energy for the Mars Science Laboratory.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists have automated part of the process of producing plutonium-238, which is used by NASA to fuel deep space exploration.
David Woerner’s paper on “Next-Generation RTGs for NASA” won the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) 2017 Aerospace Power Systems Best Paper Award.
Few missions can match the achievements of NASA's groundbreaking Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft during their 40 years of exploration. Here's a short list of their major accomplishments to date.
Humanity's farthest and longest-lived spacecraft, Voyager 1 and 2, achieve 40 years of operation and exploration this August and September. Despite their vast distance, they continue to communicate with NASA daily, still probing the final frontier.
A cutting-edge development in spacecraft power systems is a class of materials with an unfamiliar name: skutterudites (skut-ta-RU-dites). Researchers are studying the use of these advanced materials in a proposed next-generation power system called an eMMRTG, which stands for Enhanced Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator.
Ulysses, a joint NASA and European Space Agency mission, officially ceased operations today, after receiving commands from ground controllers to do so.