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(Discovery)   For the first time in 25 years, the DOE is producing Plutonium 238-but don't worry, we're not building bombs, we're just cramming it into space probes that are strapped on the top of rockets which never fail before reaching orbit   (news.discovery.com) divider line 18
    More: Interesting, orbits, NASA, Mars Exploration, Savannah River Site, energy density, voyager spacecraft, radioisotope thermoelectric generators, Galileo  
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2013-03-19 11:47:17 AM  
Great.  An outer space arms race.

www.world-wide-art.com
 
2013-03-19 12:28:07 PM  
NASA has been using a radioactive material called plutonium-238 to power its deep space probes since the 1970s.

EVERYBODY PANIC!
 
2013-03-19 12:28:22 PM  
What about space modulators?
 
2013-03-19 12:28:49 PM  
Threepeat?
 
2013-03-19 12:29:40 PM  

ChipNASA: Threepeat?


Shush. I want to see who the crazies are.
 
2013-03-19 12:29:43 PM  
@subby: Oh Man Up Nancy.
 
2013-03-19 12:30:19 PM  
Oh, no, not something radioactive enough to emit  heat for thermoelectrics, why, that'll totally destroy us all  if it falls directly in your tea and you happen to be very sensitive to tongue burns.
 
2013-03-19 12:30:20 PM  

Tricky Chicken: What about space modulators?


Came for this, leaving satisfied.
 
2013-03-19 12:31:06 PM  
Well at least it isn't Unobtanium.
 
2013-03-19 12:32:18 PM  
Subby doesn't understand how nuclear bombs work, and how something being merely radioactive doesn't mean that it's going to wipe out a city. Better disconnect that SmartMeter too, Subs...
 
2013-03-19 12:32:20 PM  
or Unobtainium.
/derrrrrr
 
2013-03-19 12:32:28 PM  
Don't they put that shiat in smoke detectors?
 
TWX
2013-03-19 12:32:35 PM  
There's an awful lot of ocean to absorb and disperse the scant amount of radiation found in a space probe.

/not concerned
//the carburetor cleaner in the workshop poses a greater personal threat
///not to mention the car itself
 
2013-03-19 12:32:54 PM  

studs up: Well at least it isn't Unobtanium.


Call me when they figure out how to cover my bones in adamantium.
 
2013-03-19 12:37:14 PM  
Voyager 1and 2 were launched in 1977. They are powered by plutonium-238 (distinct from the 239 isotope used in nuclear weapons). Still going after all these years. Staying alive, staying alive.
 
2013-03-19 12:41:44 PM  

Jim_Callahan: Oh, no, not something radioactive enough to emit  heat for thermoelectrics, why, that'll totally destroy us all  if it falls directly in your tea and you happen to be very sensitive to tongue burns.


The funny thing about plutonium is that, for all the bad press it gets over the mushroom clouds it can make, it's as nasty for its chemical toxicity as for anything its radioactivity does.* So sprinkling it in your tea is a pretty bad idea, but not necessarily for the reasons most people would think.

Then again, there aren't many metals in that neighborhood of the periodic table that  aren't biochemically nasty.

* Well, naturally-occurring  239Pu, anyway. Not so much  238Pu, which is quite a bit hotter.
 
2013-03-19 12:48:25 PM  

Mikey1969: Subby doesn't understand how nuclear bombs work, and how something being merely radioactive doesn't mean that it's going to wipe out a city. Better disconnect that SmartMeter too, Subs...


No, but put those much plutonium on a roacket that goes Challenger in the upper atomosphere and you've got a radioactive contamination situation that makes Fukushima and Chernobyl look like Three Mile Island
 
2013-03-19 12:58:45 PM  

teto85: Great.  An outer space arms race.

[www.world-wide-art.com image 199x300]


That would make SUCH a cool T-Shirt.
 
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