The Power of the Atom
Welcome Team JURBAN's newest member, Thomas Eiden. Thomas is a nuclear engineer from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, currently preparing for graduate school with a research focus on nuclear materials. More from Thomas:
I recently became re-interested in space after being inspired by Elon Musk. I've been reading about the uses of radioisotope thermal generators (RTGs) that produce electricity directly from the heat of nuclear decay. RTGs have no moving parts and can be designed to provide a steady current of electricity for many years. This is an amazing technology with a broad range of applications--especially space missions. RTGs are used in a variety of private and military satellites, probes, were used extensively during the Apollo missions, and can be seen on the Curiosity rover.
I joined team JURBAN because they are seriously considering the use of RTG technology to power their lunar rover. I am extremely excited to be part of a competition to not only launch a private lunar rover, but to also use nuclear technology that is largely the purview of government programs. As a member of JURBAN, I will be conducting a high-level study of RTG technology, help design an RTG for the lunar rover, provide heat transfer modeling support with commercial codes, and assist in the material licensing process and radiological safety training.