NASA turns to UCF to solve space exploration problem

Video: NASA turns to UCF to solve space exploration problem

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — NASA is facing a problem when it comes to space exploration and has turned to the University of Central Florida to help solve its problem.

UCF just scored a big grant from NASA to develop what the agency calls a high-risk, high payoff space technology to explore distant worlds.

NASA is turning to UCF researchers to figure out how to power spacecraft farther.

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Currently, NASA relies on Russia for space flight based on plutonium.

Most spacecraft, like the Voyager missions, that explore the solar system use plutonium.

NASA wanted another solution so UCF researchers are turning to chemical energy to be able to power spacecraft farther.

Researchers are developing a silicon solution that will maintain a constant heat source and produce electrical energy, whether in the scorching temperatures of Venus or the icy realm of Jupiter’s moons.

UCF was chosen in part, because NASA needed it to “accelerate innovation for critical space technologies.”

The technology is still in the development phase, but NASA expects a working prototype within three years.

UCF is one of the only two universities nationwide being asked to come up with a better fuel solution.