Smokey the Bear

New Profile, not New to KSP

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Suh dudes.

 

Forgot my password for my old account (Previously known as 'Indy'), so here I am. Decided to make a new account for posting pictures, mission updates, stuff like that. 

 

I recently graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering, and I'm currently sitting in the MMRTG (Multi-Mission Radio-isotopic Thermoelectric Generator) Lab at my University where I work. Its the power supply for the Mars Curiosity Rover. My boss and his colleagues run tests on two copies of the MMRTG here on Earth to better predict the capabilities of the unit on Mars. 

 

Multi-Mission-Radioisotope-Thermoelectri

Figure 1: MMRTG, "The Thing Matt Damon put inside his Rover on Mars"

Little about me, I guess: I'm a young man applying to the USAF or an officer commission, I like gaming, and KSP gave me some much needed motivation/outlet for Engineering. If anyone here has any questions about Electrical Engineering or questions about Engineering school, please feel free to ask, I'll provide whatever help I can.

 

Looking forward to perusing the forums again,

 

-Bear

Edited by Smokey the Bear
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Hi there, welcome back! I'll reach to the forum administrators, so that they can merge both accounts and reset the password if you need to. You can choose which of the usernames to keep :)

Nice bathtub heater you got there, BTW. 

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2 minutes ago, monstah said:

Hi there, welcome back! I'll reach to the forum administrators, so that they can merge both accounts and reset the password if you need to. You can choose which of the usernames to keep :)

Nice bathtub heater you got there, BTW. 

Wow, that'd be great, actually. Thanks for the help!

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Welcome back and enjoy your stay!

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Hi, quick question related to the RTG's.

I've heard of the "Plutonium Problem" and I was under the assumption that the remaining Plutonium 238 (<80 pounds) would be used sparingly. I had read that Curiosity used 11lb of this stuff, but I was unaware that the program was using 33lb to run Earth based RTG's.

Are those RTG's running off the same grade of Plutonium as the ones on the actual Rover, or do they use a substitute that is not as limited?

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37 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

Hi, quick question related to the RTG's.

I've heard of the "Plutonium Problem" and I was under the assumption that the remaining Plutonium 238 (<80 pounds) would be used sparingly. I had read that Curiosity used 11lb of this stuff, but I was unaware that the program was using 33lb to run Earth based RTG's.

Are those RTG's running off the same grade of Plutonium as the ones on the actual Rover, or do they use a substitute that is not as limited?

A good question. The test units we have running at the University are not fueled, I probably should have made that more clear in my first post xD. We have electrically based heat emitters inside the fuel sections of each test unit to simulate the plutonium because, like you said, the world's running out of Plutonium 238. A perk of using electrically based heat sources for long term testing is that we can change the heat output as we desire. For example, if we want to see what the unit will be outputting in say 20 years from now, all was have to do is change the electrical output to the heaters to reflect the decrease in fuel mass (half lives are great, right?). Saves precious Plutonium for actual RTG usage on future missions.

Edited by Smokey the Bear
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That's really cool about the RTG's! I would like to work in a field like that sometime in my life.

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