This New Nuclear Battery Could Power Deep Space Missions for Decades

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Powering deep space missions is tricky, to say the least. But a new method called lattice confinement fusion could be the compact, long-lasting energy source we've been searching for.
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In April of 2020, NASA researchers announced they had come up with a new approach to fusion that has the potential to power missions into deep space, and maybe even future laptops here on Earth. This is really exciting news as when it comes to making energy, nuclear fusion is the ultimate goal because of the promise it holds of clean limitless energy that is available on demand.

Unlike nuclear fission, where heavy atoms are split to generate energy, fusion is accomplished by smashing lighter elements together so they combine. This new team of researchers are taking a closer look at something called lattice confinement fusion, where they use atoms of a solid piece of metal like erbium or titanium as a lattice and crammed the spaces in between with deuterium gas until the lattice started to break apart. Eventually, the whole thing was so full of deuterium one researcher described it as more like a powder than a lump of metal.

Find out more about the future of nuclear fusion and this new path being explored by a team of scientists partially from NASA’s Glenn Research Center in this Elements.

#nuclearfusion #energy #NASA #cleanenergy #space #seeker #science #elements

Read More:

Spacecraft of the Future Could Be Powered By Lattice Confinement Fusion

"The team believes that their method, called lattice confinement fusion, could be a potential new power source for deep space missions."

NASA Detects Lattice Confinement Fusion

"Lawrence Forsley is a senior experimental physicist with NASA. He discusses the methods to drive and monitor condensed matter nuclear reactions in industrial, US Navy, and NASA laboratories, with an eye toward a clean, energy-rich future."

Where do deep space probes get their power?

"Most of the world’s energy comes from burning fuels – heating materials such as coal, gas, oil – or even wood – to covert water to steam, which powers a turbine to produce electricity. For a spacecraft this isn’t so simple. It would be impossible to carry enough stored fuel to maintain power for any reasonable time over the vast distances of space travel."


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