Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator
The Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG) is a radioisotope power system using Stirling power conversion technology currently being developed under joint sponsorship by the United States Department of Energy and NASA for potential future space missions. The higher conversion efficiency of the Stirling cycle compared with that of radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) used in previous missions (Viking, Pioneer, Voyager, Galileo, Ulysses, Cassini, and New Horizons) offers the advantage of a fourfold reduction in PuO2 fuel.
The prototype generator will have these specifications:
- ≥14 year lifetime
- Nominal power : 140 We
- Mass ~ 20 kg
- System efficiency: ~ 30%
- 2 General Purpose Heat Source (“Pu238 Bricks”) modules
- Uses 0.8 kg plutonium-238
One spacecraft proposed to use this generator was the TiME lander mission to Titan, the largest moon of the planet Saturn, with a launch intended for January 2015. In February 2009 it was announced that NASA/ESA had given Europa Jupiter System Mission (EJSM/Laplace) mission priority ahead of the Titan Saturn System Mission (TSSM), which could have included TiME. In August 2012, TiME also lost the 2016 Discovery class competition to the InSight Mars lander.
The Jupiter Europa Orbiter mission proposes using four ASRG to power an orbiter in the Jovian system.
See also 
- NASA's Planetary Science Division Update (June 23, 2008).
- Stofan, Ellen (25 August 2009). "Titan Mare Explorer (TiME): The First Exploration of an Extra-Terrestrial Sea". Archived from the original on 24 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-03.
- Titan Mare Explorer (TiME): The First Exploration of an Extra-Terrestrial Sea
- "NASA and ESA Prioritize Outer Planet Missions". NASA. February 18, 2009.
- Rincon, Paul (February 18, 2009). "Jupiter in space agencies' sights". BBC News.
- Vastag, Brian (August 20, 2012). "NASA will send robot drill to Mars in 2016". Washington Post.
- Smith, R.M.; Yozwiak, A.W.; Lederer, A.P. and Turtle, E.P. (2010). "HORUS—Herschel Orbital Reconnaissance of the Uranian System". 41st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference: 2471. Bibcode:2010LPI....41.2471S.
- NASA Radioisotope Power Systems website – ASRG page
- DOE ASRG Factsheet (Jan 2011)
- NASA ASRG Factsheet (Feb 2010)
- Advanced Stirling Technology Development at NASA Glenn Research Center
- Development of Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator for Space Exploration at the Wayback Machine (archived July 21, 2011)
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