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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


Pluto 'Wows' in Spectacular New Backlit Panorama
09/24/2015 Pluto 'Wows' in Spectacular New Backlit Panorama
New views of Pluto's majestic icy mountains, streams of frozen rozen nitrogen and haunting low-lying hazes.   > Original source
Nuclear Power Assessment Study
09/3/2015 Nuclear Power Assessment Study
Final report on a sustainable strategy for safe, reliable and affordable nuclear power systems for space exploration.   > Original source
New Horizons Team Completes First Search for Pluto System Hazards
05/28/2015 New Horizons Team Completes First Search for Pluto System Hazards
So far all looks clear for a safe passage of New Horizons through the Pluto system.   > 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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