Space exploration applications of nuclear power
Space exploration is critically dependent on energy sources that are long lasting and can operate in a vacuum. Nuclear power fits the bill, but there have always been objections that limited its applications.
Objections notwithstanding there have also been a number of missions where the only real solution was to use a nuclear power source of one form or another. During episode 29 of The Atomic Show, Shane and I talk about nuclear batteries – also known as radioisotope thermal generators (RTG), nuclear fission electrical power sources, and nuclear thermal rockets. We mention the NERVA program for rocket motor development that resulted in a number of tests during the 1960s.
You can find out more details regarding the topics covered at the following links: (Warning: The first three links are not independent sources – Rod Adams wrote all of the articles during an earlier life phase. Please forgive the self promotion.)
The following sources are independent.