posted on Dec, 31 2004 @ 10:59 AM
Originally posted by cmdrkeenkid
Anyway, lots of craft have been launched that are carrying nuclear reactors. It's no real worry.
Well... not exactly nuclear reactors, but
s. (Radioisotope thermoelectric generator)
I've seen those called as Plutonium batteries few times in newspaper and actually that's partly right, in normal battery energy is stored in
chemical form, in these it's "stored" in heavy radiactive/unstable elements.
All probes send farther than Mars (and some else like Ulysses) have used these because in outer solar system there isn't enough sunlight.
This is the power source which would be used by this new rover in design stage.
Real fission reactors has been used only in Soviet RORSATs... and typically for them, reactors of those are now leaking droplets of radioactive
coolant to earth's orbit.
But JIMO mission, next big Jupiter probe might well use real fission reactor as its power source to enable it to use more instruments and bigger
broadcasting power. (meaning faster data transfer)
[edit on 31-12-2004 by E_T]