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NASA's Plutonium Problem Could End Deep-Space Exploration

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Voyager, with plutonium generators

The Voyager probe's three radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) can be seen mounted end-to-end on the left-extending boom.

Credit: NASA

In 1977, the Voyager 1 spacecraft left Earth on a five-year mission to explore Jupiter and Saturn. Thirty-six years later, the car-size probe is still exploring, still sending its findings home.

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