National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
RPS: Radioisotope Power Systems

Radioisotope Power System Animations

Take a look inside these power systems to see how they produce power for spacecraft using heat.


GPHS Pull-apart Animation

A look inside the heat source for all modern radioisotope power systems.

MMRTG Pull-apart Animation

See the main parts of the MMRTG -- the power source for the Curiosity Mars rover.

RHU Pull-apart Animation

A look at how these small radioisotope heater units are put together.

ASRG Pull-apart Animation

See how an Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator - a different type of RPS once studied by NASA - would have used Stirling technology to produce power.

Educational videos about radioisotope power

Need some basic background about radioisotope power? Look no further. These videos were produced by the award-winning team at NASA eClips.


Spacecraft Power

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." This video explains more.

What are RPS?

What are radioisotope power systems and why does NASA use this technology for exploring the solar system?

History, Benefits & Safety

Hear about NASA's long history of safely using radioisotope power.

Harnessing Half-Life

Learn about isotopes and radioactive decay, and see how NASA uses the predictable decay of certain elements to power spacecraft in remote locations, including the Mars rover Curiosity.

Videos about missions enabled by radioisotope power


Mars 2020 MMRTG

Information about the nuclear power system that could be used by NASA's next potential Mars rover mission.

Mars Rover Power

NASA's Curiosity is the biggest robot explorer ever to rove Mars. How do you power something like that?
Click to view the video about the Voyager mission

Voyage of Discovery

NASA's Voyager spacecraft encountered Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Now the mission continues...Destination: interstellar space.
Click to watch the video about Voyager's journey

Voyager: Humanity's Farthest Journey

Where no spacecraft has gone before...After more than 30 years, NASA's twin Voyager spacecraft are still going strong and still sending home information.
Click to watch the video about Cassini's discoveries

Cassini: 15 Years of Exploration

Sights and sounds from the journey of NASA's Cassini spacecraft, launched 15 years ago and exploring the Saturn system since 2004.

Galileo Shuttle Launch Highlights

Highlights from Space Shuttle mission STS-34, including the launch of the Galileo spacecraft to Jupiter.

Galileo RTG Safety Tests

Historical video file from the 1980s that includes images and video related to safety testing of radioisotope thermoelectric generators, or RTGs.

Ulysses Shuttle Launch Highlights

Highlights from Space Shuttle mission STS-41, including the launch of the Ulysses spacecraft to study the sun's environment.

Apollo ALSEP deployment

Highlights from the Apollo 12 mission to the Moon, including deployment of the ALSEP surface science experiments.
Back to RPS Home

Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map
NASA Official: Leonard Dudzinski
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Editor: Preston Dyches
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 13 Oct 2016