Three scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory will discuss their work this afternoon on technologies for the Perseverance rover, which uses plutonium-238 produced at the lab and will touch down on Mars on Thursday.
Perseverance is scheduled to make its final descent into Jezero Crater on the surface of Mars on Thursday. It’s the first NASA mission that uses plutonium-238 produced at ORNL.
The plutonium-238 is encased in iridium-alloy cladding, and it is insulated by carbon-bonded carbon fiber. It’s used in the heat source module that fuels Perseverance’s multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator. As the plutonium decays, the heat that is released is converted into electricity, charging the rover’s batteries and powering the onboard advanced imaging and sensor systems. (Learn more about the Mars mission here.)
The online event today featuring the three ORNL scientists is hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy, and it is scheduled to start at 3 p.m.[Read more…]