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Plutonium shortage may thwart future NASA missions

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posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 09:45 PM
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I heard this on npr the other day. I thought missions have been scarce. I always wonder why we haven't gone back to the moon. I had no idea there was a limited supply of power that they used.


NASA is facing the prospect of trying to explore deep space without the aid of the long-lasting nuclear batteries it has relied upon for decades to send spacecraft to destinations where sunlight is in short supply. NASA Administrator Mike Griffin told a House Appropriations subcommittee March 5 that the U.S. inventory of plutonium-238 - the radioactive material essential for building long-lasting batteries known to the experts as radioisotope power systems - is running out quickly. "Looking ahead, plutonium is in short supply," Griffin told lawmakers during the first of two days of hearings on the U.S. space agency's 2009 budget request.


Solar is looked at but when you get further out in space, then it is limited.

It is sad that they are limited by somethign so simple. Yet, it may help in provoking another technological developement.

Lets hope they get around it soon.



U.S. industry sources said they had been told that the United States has a total of just over 11 kilograms on order to meet NASA's projected demand through the middle of the next decade. Hill said only that the United States has received an additional 5 kilograms of plutonium-238 from Russia since 2005 and has another 4.9 kilograms on order for delivery this year.


When they say shortage they mean shortage.

Can anyone think of a decent alternative means of fuel that can be used?


Thanks for your responses.

space.com




posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 11:19 PM
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This does not make any sense....WHERE IN THE FRAK is the plutonium going???



posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 11:54 PM
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The idea of a plutonium shortage in the US is stupid.

Never A Straight Answer



posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 05:16 AM
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There are different kinds of plutonium.




But this special brand of plutonium was a byproduct of Cold War activities and hasn’t been produced by the U.S. since the ‘80s (plutonium-239 goes in nuclear warheads, so naturally we keep plenty of that laying around). NASA has launched nearly two dozen missions over the past four decades that were powered by plutonium-238, including the Voyager probes, the Galileo probe that studied Jupiter and its moons, and the Cassini that is currently doing laps around Saturn. Those missions ran on either U.S. reserves of plutonium-238 or excess stock purchased from Russia. But now neither nation is producing the stuff, and even if we started again today, it would take eight years to build up production to the volumes necessary for annual deep space missions.



pop sci


jra

posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 05:45 PM
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Originally posted by Chakotay
Still a false flag


How so? Yes there are alternatives, but from the looks of it. Plutonium-238 is the best choice, due to a much longer half-life. Some of those alternatives would be useless for long term missions to the outer planets.


Originally posted by nixie_nox
Can anyone think of a decent alternative means of fuel that can be used?


Well solar panels are getting better all the time. The upcoming Juno mission to Jupiter will be using solar power. Where as the previous mission, Galileo, used RTG's.



posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 07:43 PM
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reply to post by jra
 


How so is: if you have THE WILL to go somewhere, you will go.

Gutless whiners will find any excuse to suck down a government paycheck to find a reason you can't go to space.

There is always a way, and never an insurmountable problem if you are determined to win.

NASA administration isn't.


[edit on 30-9-2009 by Chakotay]



posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 08:58 PM
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reply to post by nixie_nox
 





in the book �Physical Chemistry� by E. A. Moelwyn-Hughes, Pergamon Press, Oxford 1965, page 224. Rutherford and Geiger determined the fact that radium puts out alpha particles at the rate of 34,000,000,000 per second, each having two units of positive charge at 4.5 million electron-volts. This is a staggering amount of energy which ionises the air inside the housing and produces enough power to be capable of replacing the entire Four Corners power complex indefinitely.


www.free-energy-info.com...


Is is already in the books how to make electricity with out Plutonium.
This is just a ploy to make sure we continue getting scammed.
There is a Tesla mention but not that Tesla would create Radium
from perhaps Bismuth at a dollar a pound but now thousands per
gram. Perhaps as much as Plutonium but not good at supporting
the people that need to be supported because they do not want
the radium way.


jra

posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 09:06 PM
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Originally posted by Chakotay
There is always a way, and never an insurmountable problem if you are determined to win.

NASA administration isn't.


Says who? you? Ok...

There have been advancements in RTG's and RTG like systems. The Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator for example, which generates the same amount of power, but has a four-fold reduction in the amount of P-238 that is needed.

Also, the Plutonium shortage might not be as bad as Griffin was making it out to be over a year ago. The Department of Energies deputy assistant secretary, Dennis Miotla seems to suggest otherwise.


From: spacenews.com

Miotla also implied that the United States has a larger inventory that it has been willing to tell NASA or the public, suggesting the possibility that the "cupboard is actually more full than you might believe."

Miotla said that it was "not out of the question" that NASA might be able to use some of the plutonium-238 that has been set aside for national security uses.



posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 09:33 PM
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reply to post by jra
 


Exactly correct. And so you and I agree.

Griffin is cracked.




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