During the Cold War plutonium inventories, feeding the NASA deep space probes is low. Location draw on the energy of the future missions to the edge of the solar system?
Next, than 18 billion kilometers away, Voyager 1 crossed the edge of the solar system itself. If the instrument shows the correct probe is finally getting ready to go into the unknown – a dim interstellar space void. The 35-year duration of the journey culminates.
NASA’s most distant probe longevity 238plutonio provides a warm heart. By-product from the production of nuclear weapons decomposition heat, and the heat is converted to electricity feeding Voyager instruments. Engineers hope that the probe sends information about another decade before dingdamas vacuum.
Since the sixties, this plutonium isotope has played an important role in the Long Distance space missions, most probes, encircling too far from the Sun that would be practical for use in photovoltaic batteries. For example, the Galileo mission to Jupiter, Pioneer and Voyager probes are also “fed” him, just as the Cassini satellite of Saturn’s moons, among other attractions, discovered ethane lakes and icy geysers.
But despite many successes, these missions can quickly stay in the past. 238plutonio production
stopped decades ago, and the space agency Stocks dangerously low. In the supplement, the outer limits of the solar system study can completely stop.
The problem is that 238plutonį made is not easy nor cheap, and production line restart will take several years and cost about $ 100 million. While NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to achieve this, so far, Congress refused to allocate adequate funds.
But there could be a better way to do it. NASA meeting in March, the Space Nuclear Research Centre (CSNR) physicists has proposed a radical solution, which, as they say, is supposed to cover all sides. It would be faster, cleaner and cheaper way to offer commercial operating line, which not only meet the needs of NASA, but also significantly reduce costs.
So what to do? This material production commercialization, as suggested by the CSNR to alleviate the burden on the budget, but the idea of critics worry that could affect safety. Plutonium is one of the most poisonous substances known to science – isotopes are powerful alpha particle sources and fatal if inhaled. CSNR scientists say that the time and money
necessary to restart plutonium production line, it is better to be used in the development of safer alternatives. So whether it is an ideal opportunity to say goodbye to the Cold War-era technology and to develop new, cleaner energy sources, space probes which benefit both Earth-bound?