Tuesday, September 24, 2013

NASA's Plutonium Conundrum dubbed "The Problem"

Most of you have probably heard all of the recent media buzz on the wildly successful Voyager probe and Curiosity Mars rover. These little guys zoom about the cosmos and traverse canyons on distant worlds. But what is it that gets them there? Human ingenuity, of course, but more literally--what fuels these devices? Generally, we don't talk too much about what powers our technology throughout the cosmos, neither do we discuss the current stockpile of NASA's inventory. Ultimately, these missions have only been possible because of an unstable isotope, Plutonium 238. The devices we use power themsleves through the decay of this substance. Unsurprisingly, plutonium 238 is a hot commodity (pun intended), and has (unfortunately) been in short supply for years. Now, NASA has almost completely run out. This is obviously a problem...a big problem...

To read the full article, see: http://www.fromquarkstoquasars.com/nasas-plutonium-conundrum-dubbed-the-problem/

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