Radioisotope Power Systems

Author: National Research Council
Editor: National Academies Press
ISBN: 0309138574
File Size: 63,22 MB
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Spacecraft require electrical energy. This energy must be available in the outer reaches of the solar system where sunlight is very faint. It must be available through lunar nights that last for 14 days, through long periods of dark and cold at the higher latitudes on Mars, and in high-radiation fields such as those around Jupiter. Radioisotope power systems (RPSs) are the only available power source that can operate unconstrained in these environments for the long periods of time needed to accomplish many missions, and plutonium-238 (238Pu) is the only practical isotope for fueling them. Plutonium-238 does not occur in nature. The committee does not believe that there is any additional 238Pu (or any operational 238Pu production facilities) available anywhere in the world.The total amount of 238Pu available for NASA is fixed, and essentially all of it is already dedicated to support several pending missions--the Mars Science Laboratory, Discovery 12, the Outer Planets Flagship 1 (OPF 1), and (perhaps) a small number of additional missions with a very small demand for 238Pu. If the status quo persists, the United States will not be able to provide RPSs for any subsequent missions.
Radioisotope Power Systems
Language: en
Pages: 68
Authors: National Research Council, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, Space Studies Board, Radioisotope Power Systems Committee
Categories: Science
Type: BOOK - Published: 2009-08-14 - Publisher: National Academies Press

Spacecraft require electrical energy. This energy must be available in the outer reaches of the solar system where sunlight is very faint. It must be available through lunar nights that last for 14 days, through long periods of dark and cold at the higher latitudes on Mars, and in high-radiation
Radioisotope Power Systems
Language: en
Pages: 68
Authors: Radioisotope Power Systems Committee, Space Studies Board, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, National Research Council
Categories: Science
Type: BOOK - Published: 2009-07-14 - Publisher:

Spacecraft require electrical energy. This energy must be available in the outer reaches of the solar system where sunlight is very faint. It must be available through lunar nights that last for 14 days, through long periods of dark and cold at the higher latitudes on Mars, and in high-radiation
An Enabling Foundation for NASA's Earth and Space Science Missions
Language: en
Pages: 76
Authors: National Research Council, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, Space Studies Board, Committee on the Role and Scope of Mission-Enabling Activities in NASA's Space and Earth Science Missions
Categories: Science
Type: BOOK - Published: 2010-03-25 - Publisher: National Academies Press

NASA's space and Earth science program is composed of two principal components: spaceflight projects and mission-enabling activities. Most of the budget of NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) is applied to spaceflight missions, but NASA identifies nearly one quarter of the SMD budget as "mission enabling." The principal mission-enabling activities, which
Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era of Space Exploration
Language: en
Pages: 46
Authors: National Research Council, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, Space Studies Board, Committee for the Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space
Categories: Science
Type: BOOK - Published: 2010-08-23 - Publisher: National Academies Press

In response to requests from Congress, NASA asked the National Research Council to undertake a decadal survey of life and physical sciences in microgravity. Developed in consultation with members of the life and physical sciences communities, the guiding principle for the study is to set an agenda for research for
Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022
Language: en
Pages: 398
Authors: National Research Council, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, Space Studies Board, Committee on the Planetary Science Decadal Survey
Categories: Science
Type: BOOK - Published: 2012-01-30 - Publisher: National Academies Press

In recent years, planetary science has seen a tremendous growth in new knowledge. Deposits of water ice exist at the Moon's poles. Discoveries on the surface of Mars point to an early warm wet climate, and perhaps conditions under which life could have emerged. Liquid methane rain falls on Saturn's