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Journal of Electronic Materials

, Volume 44, Issue 6, pp 1814–1821 | Cite as

Increasing the Efficiency of the Multi-mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator

  • Tim C. Holgate
  • Russell Bennett
  • Tom Hammel
  • Thierry Caillat
  • Steve Keyser
  • Bob Sievers
Article

Abstract

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Mars Science Laboratory terrestrial rover, Curiosity, has recently completed its first Martian year (687 Earth days) during which it has provided a wealth of information and insight into the red planet’s atmosphere and geology. The success of this mission was made possible in part by the reliable electrical power provided by its onboard thermoelectric power source—the multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator (MMRTG). In an effort to increase the output power and efficiency of these generators, a newly designed enhanced MMRTG (eMMRTG) that will utilize the more efficient skutterudite-based thermoelectric materials has been conceptualized and modeled, and is now being developed. A discussion of the motivations, modeling results and key design factors are presented and discussed.

Keywords

Thermoelectrics RTG radioisotope generator skutterudite 

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Copyright information

© The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tim C. Holgate
    • 1
  • Russell Bennett
    • 1
  • Tom Hammel
    • 1
  • Thierry Caillat
    • 2
  • Steve Keyser
    • 1
  • Bob Sievers
    • 1
  1. 1.Teledyne Energy Systems, Inc. (TESI)Hunt ValleyUSA
  2. 2.Jet Propulsion LaboratoryCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA

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