Close Up of the Pioneer Spacecraft Radio-Isotope Generator

Pioneer Spacecraft Radio-Isotope Generator

Two "Radio-Isotope Generators" (RTG), containing Plutonium, generated heat by radioactive decay, which in turn was converted into electricity.  The Pioneer spacecraft could not be powered by solar panels, as the distance from the Sun was too great. 

  • Created: 2016

  • NASM 2016-00091

  • Copyright/Owner: Smithsonian Institution
  • Source: National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution
  • Photographer: Eric Long
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