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.
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
The Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator was to use less Plutonium for cheaper missions.
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)
Planetary Radio Talks With Casey Dreier About Restoring Production of an Isotope
Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/10/29 10:38 CDT
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
The United States is trying to generate plutonium fuel for the first time in 25 years. Will it succeed?
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
The Planetary Society works to maintain plutonium availability for deep space missions
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.
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.