posted on Jul, 20 2008 @ 02:09 PM
NASA is currently using RTGs on the Cassini orbiter
- a spacecraft orbiting Saturn - and in
the New Horizons probe
currently in transit to Pluto, the Kuiper belt, and beyond. NASA has
used RTGs in the past for the Galileo probe to Jupiter, both Voyager missions, in the Viking Mars landers, and in science packages left behind by
Apollo missions to the moon, to name a few.
The systems are relatively safe. The science package carried by Apollo 13's lunar module never made it to the moon due to the problems with that
mission and re-entered the Earth's atmosphere with the Aquarius lunar module. It currently rests at the bottom of the South Pacific Ocean;
no release of radiation has ever been reported
RTGs are scheduled to be used in NASA's 2009 Mars Science Laboratory. The article you cited from USA Today is from 2004, however, and some of the
other projects mentions - the JIMO mission, for instance - have been cut due to funding issues and are no longer planned.
As far as the supposed "crash" of a "KH-13" in Peru, do you have a more reliable source for that than Pravda? I looked on the web for one and
came up empty, and am inclined to dismiss it as it was not reported in any publication more reputable than Pravda.
I have reason to believe such systems are in use by a secret space program with bases on the moon and mars.
And what is this reason?