Radioisotope Power Systems Feature Summary

Type:
From Physics Research
Title:
Radioisotope Power Systems
Description:
The glowing pellet is an oxide of plutonium, the fuel for a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG). It is photographed in the light it emits, because its radioactive decay produces considerable heat. The RTG converts this heat into electricity.

RTGs power the spacecraft that visited Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn--and the RTG keeps working over decades. To find out more, visit Radioisotope Power Systems.
Image:
image credit: <a href="http://www.doedigitalarchive.doe.gov/" target="_blank">U.S. Department of Energy</a>; <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plutonium-238" target="_blank">image source</a>; <a href="http://www.compadre.org/informal/images/features/plutonium_pellet-large1.jpg" target="_blank">larger image</a>
image credit: U.S. Department of Energy; image source; larger image
Image URL:
http://www.physicstogo.org/images/features/plutonium_pellet-large1.jpg
Featured:
July 1, 2012 - July 16, 2012