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  • Safi Bello

NASA Pushes for Nuclear-Powered Space Missions

Scientific American ---------- Many of our most ambitious space missions to space have been made possible using nuclear power. On Thursday (Jan. 18), scientists and officials from NASA and the Department of Energy gathered at the National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas to discuss the Kilopower project, the next generation of nuclear power plants for future space missions. In the past, NASA has used radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) to power spacecraft like Voyagers 1 and 2, the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Packages, and the Curiosity rover. This device directly converts heat from decaying plutonium into electricity. It has no moving parts, making it ideal for applications in space. However, it is not terribly efficient. Nuclear reactors can take advantage of active nuclear fission, or atom splitting, to be far more efficient, and NASA has been researching this technology for decades. To learn more click on the picture below to read the article.

NASA Pushes for Nuclear-Powered Space Missions - Read More from Scientific American

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