meatybeans writes "NASA officials are meeting today, with concerned residents around Cape Canaveral, regarding the power system for the upcoming Mars Science Lab mission. MSL is going to be like our current rovers on steroids. The plans call for a larger, heavier rover with a lot more juice for gadgets. This meeting however brings to light the issue of the power system for the MSL. The Mars Science Lab originally called for a nuclear power source, much like the Cassini and New Horizon missions use. Some vocal opposition to this has been voiced in the past. As a result, NASA has backup plans to employ solar power and small amounts of RTG's ? if arguments against straight nuclear for MSL win out. As with most, things 'NIMBY' ? seems to be in full effect when it comes RTG's. Does the recent success of the rovers show us that RTG's are not needed for Mars exploration? Are 1:420 odds of an accident that bad? Finally, are the hearings that are taking place between NASA and the public really just a formality in the name of public relations?"
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