RPS: The Power to Explore

Radioisotope power systems (RPS) generate reliable electrical power and valuable heat energy for longduration space missions, working dependably in harsh environments where solar panels or batteries would be ineffective or impossible to use.

RPS have been used on more than two-dozen U.S. space missions over five decades, and counting. RPS-powered missions include the Voyager 1 and 2 probes to the outer planets and interstellar space (both still operating after more than 35 years), the Cassini mission to Saturn, and the Curiosity Mars rover. Many exciting missions envisioned for future exploration of the planets, their moons, and the icy bodies beyond them could be enabled or significantly enhanced by using RPS.

NASA and the Department of Energy (DOE) work together to sustain and improve radioisotope power technology so that RPS can continue to be a viable option when considering future missions to many of the darkest, coldest, and most extreme environments known beyond Earth.

Credit

NASA/U.S. Department of Energy

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