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Blog Archive

 

Can nuclear waste help humanity reach for the stars?

Tim Tinsley • April 23, 2015

With the shortage of plutonium-238 to power space missions, Europe has decided to focus on an accessible alternative material that could power future spacecraft: americium-241.

The ASRG Cancellation in Context

Van Kane • December 09, 2013

ASRGs could have stretched NASA's limited supply of plutonium to potentially enable missions to the perpetually-shadowed polar craters on our moon, to flyby Uranus, or to float for months on a Titan lake.

NASA Just Cancelled its Advanced Spacecraft Power Program

Casey Dreier • November 15, 2013

The Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Program (ASRG) was just cancelled by NASA. This was to be the saving grace for Plutonium-238 availability, as it was a much more efficient way to generate electricity than classic RTG systems.

Mars Needs Plutonium! (And so do Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Points Beyond)

Mat Kaplan • October 29, 2013

Society Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator Casey Dreier visits Planetary Radio with the tale of an element that is essential to exploration of deep space.

Power From the Isotopes

Casey Dreier • October 29, 2013

We report on the current state of Plutonium-238 production in the United States, a crucial fuel source for planetary exploration spacecraft.

Plutonium-238 is Crucial for Space Exploration – and it's Running Out

Casey Dreier • September 20, 2013

Plutonium-238 provides electricity to deep space missions, but NASA only has a little bit left. A new article in Wired highlights the disastrous consequences of no plutonium for use in space, something the Planetary Society is currently fighting for in Washington, D.C.

A New Direction for Mars? CAPS Meeting 2012 Coverage

Casey Dreier • September 24, 2012

The Mars Program Planning Group presents its new plan for Mars exploration in lieu of recent cuts to its budget on Tuesday, Sept 25th. We also get updates on the Europa Mission study at CAPS 2012 in Irvine, CA.

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