The management of the American Space Agency loves
create and then heavily advertise ambitious searchlights on
space exploration. According to NASA, the astronauts from
The United States will fly to the Moon, Mars, Jupiter in the foreseeable future, or even
beyond the solar system. However, is it feasible on the current
stage of development of American technology and real capabilities?
Many scientists say no.
For such missions will require a huge amount of energy, and
Obviously, the solar panels on the linings of the spacecraft
not enough. Powerful energy sources are needed, and the most important
irreplaceable of them, when suddenly it became known, NASA is coming to
the end of
The manned spacecraft requires radioisotope
thermoelectric generator that receives energy as a result
decay of radioactive plutonium-238. Such batteries
incredibly efficient and reliable, however they have significant
a flaw that could be critical for Americans. The thing is
that plutonium-238 is extremely expensive and rare, and its production
very difficult and slow.
In 1988, the United States stopped making it altogether.
substance, starting to buy it from the Soviet Union, and then from Russia.
Now in all of America there are only 34 kilograms of this
radioactive nuclide, however, given its rapid decay,
Americans will be able to use for space flight only
half of these stocks, and even if they hurry. Even for a mission
the Cassini level of this amount is no longer enough.
A few years ago, the United States resumed production of plutonium-238,
however, so far only 100 grams of the most valuable substance have been received here –
almost at the laboratory level. The situation is complicated by the fact that
90s the Americans dismantled the only reactor for
similar production on a more or less large scale. Can
suggest that if our country stops supplying plutonium-238
to America, that will be left without the space industry. That is why all
talk about flights to Mars, and lately – also about
the resumption of the lunar program is nothing more than political
US declarations. Of course, such plans are also needed for the next
financial contributions to NASA, otherwise the aerospace agency
you just need to overclock …