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RPS: Radioisotope Power Systems


For more than five decades, radioisotope power systems have played a critical role in the exploration of space, enabling missions of scientific discovery to destinations across the solar system. These amazing voyages have helped to reveal the nature of Earth's moon, allowed us to witness icy geysers and sulfur volcanoes on moons of the outer planets, and sustained long journeys to the outer reaches of our sun's influence.

NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy are working to ensure that this vital space power technology will be available to enable and enhance ambitious solar system exploration missions in this decade and beyond.

New Horizons
Arriving at Pluto in 2015  More >
New Horizons Background Image

Featured Mission


Sabah Bux Awarded The 2015 Lew Allen Award for Excellence
11/10/2015 Sabah Bux Awarded The 2015 Lew Allen Award for Excellence
Sabah Bux was awarded the JPL Lew Allen Early Career Award for Excellence for 2015 in recognition of her leadership in the development of novel high performance, high temperature nano-composite bulk thermoelectric materials.   > Original source
Last of Pluto's Moons - Mysterious Kerberos - Revealed by New Horizons
10/27/2015 Last of Pluto's Moons - Mysterious Kerberos - Revealed by New Horizons
Images of Pluto's tiny moon Kerberos taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft -and just sent back to Earth this week - complete the family portrait of Pluto's moons.   > Original source
Nuclear Power Assessment Study
10/27/2015 Nuclear Power Assessment Study
Final report on a sustainable strategy for safe, reliable and affordable nuclear power systems for space exploration.   > Original source

Exploration Timeline
Radioisotope-Enabled Missions
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Nimbus III Apollo 11 Pioneer 10 Pioneer 11 Apollo 12-17 Viking 1 Lander Viking 2 Lander Voyager 1 Voyager 2 Galileo Ulysses Galileo Probe Mars Pathfinder Sojourner Rover Cassini Huygens Spirit Opportunity Mars Science Laboratory Rover New Horizons Radioisotope-Enabled Missions
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