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

Introduction

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
Play
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Featured Mission






News

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Achieves Milestone With Plutonium-238 Sample
12/30/2015 Oak Ridge National Laboratory Achieves Milestone With Plutonium-238 Sample
By producing 50 grams of plutonium-238, Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have demonstrated the nation's ability to provide a valuable energy source for deep space missions.   > Original source
U.S. Demonstrates Production of Fuel for Missions to the Solar System and Beyond
12/22/2015 U.S. Demonstrates Production of Fuel for Missions to the Solar System and Beyond
The first U.S. production in nearly 30 years of a specialized fuel to power future deep space missions has been completed by researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee.   > Original source
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



Exploration Timeline
Radioisotope-Enabled Missions
 
Scroll Timeline Left
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
Scroll Timeline Right
Roll over a mission to see details.

Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Leonard Dudzinski
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Editor: Preston Dyches
Webmaster: Sandra Cosic, Maryia Davis
> 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
> USA.gov
> ExpectMore.gov
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA