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Where does the plutonium come from?

Last week I wrote about how the shortage of Pu-238 might impact the exploration of the outer Solar System, but I didn’t much get into where the plutonium comes from. After all, while there are trace amounts of natural plutonium, there certainly isn’t nearly enough to fuel a space probe. So this week it seemed […]

The post Where does the plutonium come from? appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

Pu-238 glowing with the heat of alpha radiation decay

Houston – we need some plutonium

The outer Solar System is a dark and lonely place – solar energy drops off with the inverse square of distance to the Sun so a spaceship in orbit around Jupiter (5.5 times as far from the Sun as the Earth) receives only about 3% as much solar energy as one orbiting Earth. Solar panels […]

The post Houston – we need some plutonium appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.