THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
National Research Council
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences
Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board
Space Studies Board
Radioisotope Power Systems Committee
Radioisotope Power Systems:
An Imperative for Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Space Exploration
Requested by Congress in P.L. 110-161, this new report discusses issues surrounding NASA's development and use of radioisotope power systems -- radioactive materials used as fuel to power equipment during space missions. The report examines technical readiness, production and procurement of radioactive material, and the role of radioisotope power systems in meeting national goals for space exploration.
This briefing was for members of Congress and congressional staff only. The report was publicly released on May 7, 2009 and can be found, in its entirety, on .