Mars Technica

Plutonium power

Episode Summary

To have the power needed to explore the sub-zero temperatures of Mars, the rover uses a nuclear battery that uses heat from the natural radioactive decay of plutonium-238 to generate electricity as fuel.

Episode Notes

It takes a special battery to power a rover on another planet.

Mars Technica is produced by Los Alamos National Laboratory. Cover art by Joey Montoya. Photo illustration courtesy JPL/NASA. With special thanks to Laura Mullane, Scott Faulk, Charles Poling, Arthur Bishop and Camille Dickson.