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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2011 > Nov > Nov 24

Curiosity May Be Curtain Call For Plutonium-Power

From: Terry W. Colvin <fortean1.nul>
Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2011 20:25:42 +0700 (GMT+07:00)
Archived: Thu, 24 Nov 2011 08:32:37 -0500
Subject: Curiosity May Be Curtain Call For Plutonium-Power

NASA's newest Mars rover, Curiosity, is one in a long line of
spacecraft to be powered by the radioactive element, plutonium.
Yet, with this chemical quickly becoming scarce, it may be the
last, scientists worry.

Curiosity is scheduled to launch Saturday (Nov. 26) on a ground-
breaking mission to the Red Planet. When the car-size rover
reaches the surface of Mars next August, it will be powered with
a special type of the element, called plutonium-238.

For 50 years, NASA has used plutonium-238 as the fuel source for
unmanned spacecraft to study planets and other objects in the
outer solar system, but stockpiles of this material are running

Without additional stores of this fuel, the agency's ability to
conduct future planetary science is in jeopardy. That is
something the United States simply cannot afford, scientists


Terry W. Colvin
Ladphrao (Bangkok), Thailand
Pran Buri (Hua Hin), Thailand
[Terry's Fortean & "Work" itty-bitty site]

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