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Why NASA's Mars rover Perseverance will use nuclear power to keep itself warm

Mar 19, 2020
At a price of $75 million for 110 watts, we won't be using these MMRTG*s for much else. No wonder space probes are so costly, even without this energy source. And powering the rover for 14 years is pretty amazing. Just hope the rest of the rover lasts that long.

These particular RTGs actually use PU238, not the PU239 found in nuclear weapons, which is why they don't have a lot of this isotope, and which probably adds largely to their price tags.

Anybody with expertise in these, it would be nice to hear from you. There are different kinds of RTGs using various isotopes, both in use and under research. They are quite amazing devices!

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioisotope_thermoelectric_generator
Aug 1, 2020
Has anyone seen information on how the MMRTG is cooled during the 7 month journey to Mars? 2kW of heat is quite a lot.


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