Pushing the Exploration Frontier

Deep Space Radioisotope Power Systems, Nuclear Thermal Propulsion, Nuclear Electric Propulsion, Fusion Propulsion and other Nuclear Applications for Space Research & Travel
Learn More

Congratulations to the New Horizons Pluto Probe

Congratulations to the NASA team that worked on the New Horizons Probe which made its fly-by of Pluto in mid-July offering the first up close pictures of Pluto.
Learn More

The Aerospace Nuclear Science & Technology Division (ANSTD) was founded in 2008, evolving from a technical group that was established in 2000. ANSTD was created to play an important role in the nuclear community by promoting the advancement of knowledge in the use of nuclear science and technologies in aerospace applications. Since its creation, ANSTD has grown to become a large division of more than 500 members (about 5% of all American Nuclear Society members).


ANS Public Policy Statement on Space Technology


The Aerospace Nuclear Science & Technology professional division was established to promote the advancement of knowledge in the use of nuclear science and technologies in the aerospace application.

Specialized nuclear-based technologies and applications are needed to advance the state-of-the-art in aerospace design, engineering and operations to explore planetary bodies in our solar system and beyond, plus enhance the safety of air travel, especially high speed air travel.

Areas of interest will include but are not limited to the creation of nuclear-based power and propulsion systems, multifunctional materials to protect humans and electronic components from atmospheric, space, and nuclear power system radiation, human factor strategies for the safety and reliable operation of nuclear power and propulsion plants by non-specialized personnel and more.

ANSTD Strategic Plan

Recent Articles

Nuclear and Emerging Technologies for Space 2016 Call for Papers

The Nuclear and Emerging Technologies (NETS) conference is being held in at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama from February 22nd – 25th. There is now an active call for papers for the conference with abstracts due October 30th. Call for Papers The NETS conference is the premier conference for research dealing nuclear power for space applications. We welcome you to present your research or just come visit the conference to see what the latest research in the space nuclear field. See the NETS 2016 website for more... read more

Space Exploration with Radioisotope Power

How do you provide power to spacecraft in the deep reaches of space far from the sun? For the past 50 years the United States has been using radioisotope thermal generators (RTG). Deep space missions using RTGs include the Voyager Spacecraft that was launched in 1977 and is currently still transmitting data from distances far beyond Pluto. More recently the New Horizon’s spacecraft was launched in 2006 has just flown by Pluto offering the first images of the dwarf planet close up. RTGs were used on the moon during the Apollo mission with astronauts, the Curiosity rover, the Viking Mars Landers and more. The United states has launched around thirty spacecraft and landers that have used RTGs to for electricity and heat. How do RTGs work? RTGs have two main parts. The Radioisotope First is the radioisotope which produces heat through radioactive decay. There are many different isotopes with different amount of heat that are generated from them.Plutoninum-238 (Pu-238) is the ideal choice for most space missions because it produces a steady amount of heat and a half life of 87 years. The half life is important because a radioisotope must last long long enough to complete the mission. A half life of 87 year is nearly perfect because it will take a few decades before the isotope begins to decrease much in power. The video below shows an interview with Stacy McLaughlan a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory who worked on the New Horizons radioisotope power system. She talks more about Plutonium 238.   The Thermal Generator The second piece of an RTG is the part that... read more

2015 IEEE Nuclear and Space Radiation Effects Conference

The 2015 IEEE Nuclear and Space Radiation Effects Conference will be held July 13-17, 2015, at the Marriott Copley Place, Boston, Massachusetts. The conference features a technical program consisting of eight to ten technical sessions of contributed papers describing the latest observations in radiation effects, a Short Course on radiation effects offered on July 13, a Radiation Effects Data Workshop, and an Industrial Exhibit. The technical program includes oral and poster sessions. Please visit their website for more... read more

Why Access To Space Needs To and Is Getting Cheaper

If you look into the night you can see the Moon our nearest neighbor. Humans have been there a few times but we aim to “shoot to the moon” more permanently and sustainably. We can see Mars, a planet which sits in the cross hairs of our exploration with its raw resources and atmosphere which could be used to build a civilization. We see other places in our Solar System and beyond that every science fiction movie advertises as our future homes, as places where humanity can unabashedly grow without the looming threat of global catastrophe and scarcity of resources. The future of humanity is in the stars, but how do we move toward it? Governments seem ambivalent, and today it seems with the retirement of the shuttle and lack of a sustained space vision that we are less capable of spaceflight than we were in the days of our parents. Are we going anywhere anytime soon? Any object that has traveled into space is worth its weight in gold. For the past 30 years the price to go to Earth orbit has been $10,000 a pound ($20,000 a kg). Any mission to Mars or the Moon must first travel through the gateway of Earth orbit meaning that economically, our ambitions to travel beyond stand as unsustainable pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. The staggering cost of spaceflight has been the single biggest deterrent to extending our reach beyond Earth orbit. Only light-weight robotic missions are even fiscally capable of being implemented. During the early 1990’s the Space Exploration Initiative quoted $500 billion as the cost... read more

NETS 2015 Call for Papers is Out

The Nuclear and Emerging Technology for Space or NETS conference is an annual conference that is at the heart of the space nuclear community. The conference this year is at the Albuquerque Marriott in February 23-26. The call for abstracts is up and the due date is October 31. Learn more at the official NETS 2015... read more

May ANSTD Meeting and Upcoming ANS Annual Conference

ANSTD had a recent meeting in May to discuss several topics including the 2015 NETS conference, recent elections, and the upcoming ANS anual conference. The minutes are available below: ANSTD May 2014 Telecom Minutes The upcoming American Nuclear Society annual conference is in Reno, Nevada June 15-18. There will be an ANSTD division meeting on Sunday. The agenda for that meeting is below: ANS 2014 ANSTD Agenda The conference will have a technical section featuring papers and presentations in the Aerospace Nuclear field. In addition on Sunday there is a reception with the ANS president. For that reception the ANSTD has created a flyer highlighting the ANSTD’s missions and activities. The flyer is available below. ANSTD... read more