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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.

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News

Dynamic Power Convertors for Radioisotope Power Systems
8/4/2016 Dynamic Power Convertors for Radioisotope Power Systems
The RPS Program, via the NASA’s Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES), has released the request for proposal for Dynamic Power Convertors (DPC) for Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS). The information is available at NSPIRES.   > Original source
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



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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