Saturn exploration probe with SP-100 reactor

Saturn exploration probe with SP-100 reactor

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Credit: US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Artist's impression of a probe exploring the rings of Saturn. The probe is powered by the SP-100 nuclear reactor, the core of which is only 0.03 cubic metres in size. SP-100 was originally designed under the US Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI, or 'Star Wars') programme. It is a 100 kW reactor, which uses liquid sodium as its coolant. The sodium is heated by the reactor, then pumped through a thermoelectric generator. Excess heat is disposed of through radiators. SP-100 will be of use in distant solar system exploration, as the light from the sun at such distances is too weak to power solar cells.

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Keywords: exploration, nuclear reactor, proposed, research, saturn probe, sp-100, sp-100 nuclear reactor, space craft, spacecraft

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