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Pu-238: Fuel for Deep Space Journeys

Posted February 10, 2017 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

The U.S. space agency NASA is particular when it comes to the fuel used to power its longest space missions — only plutonium-238 will do, but it's in short supply. However, the agency has been working with the Department of Energy to produce more of the vital substance


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Guru

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#1

Re: Pu-238: Fuel for Deep Space Journeys

02/10/2017 11:02 AM

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Guru

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#2
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Re: Pu-238: Fuel for Deep Space Journeys

02/10/2017 12:08 PM

Even more energy available from Pu239 than Pu238 .

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Guru

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Pu-238: Fuel for Deep Space Journeys

02/10/2017 6:31 PM

Put a piece of this inside a Stirling engine, and that thing would keep on running for decades. Connect a generator and it's 4 times as efficient as an RTG, albeit with moving parts.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirling_radioisotope_generator

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Stirling_radioisotope_generator

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Guru

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#4
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Re: Pu-238: Fuel for Deep Space Journeys

02/10/2017 6:56 PM

It's a great idea, but the cost of the advanced development project seems outrageous. How do you spend $260 million on something like that?

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Guru
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#7
In reply to #4

Re: Pu-238: Fuel for Deep Space Journeys

02/11/2017 11:34 AM

When you're in the government and have a lot of donors bribes to pay back.

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Participant

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#5

Re: Pu-238: Fuel for Deep Space Journeys

02/10/2017 10:44 PM

This article reminds me of this guy...

http://www.atomicengines.com/engines.html

http://atomicinsights.com/million-mile-per-gallon-mmmpg-carburetor/

Of course when speaking about getting most out of engines, regardless of power source, you have to give respect where respect is due: Tom Ogle

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Guru

Join Date: Dec 2016
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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Pu-238: Fuel for Deep Space Journeys

02/10/2017 10:50 PM

You can make links live. Hilight the link text, copy it, then click on the 'chain-link' button and paste the link text into the popup's text box.

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