Today the INL is preparing to assist with the Multi-Mission RTG (MMRTG). The INL is assigned the final assembly and testing of the RTG for the project which is scheduled for a land rover mission to Mars. The launch is scheduled Friday, Nov. 25, 2011 with a landing on Mars in August 2012.
INL helped energize NASA' s New Horizons mission to Pluto which launched early in 2006. New Horizons is designed to help to gain an understanding of worlds at the edge of our solar system by making the first reconnaissance of Pluto and Charon - a "double planet" and the last planet in our solar system to be visited by spacecraft. Then, as part of an extended mission, New Horizons will visit one or more objects in the Kuiper Belt region beyond Neptune.
In concert with NASA' s priorities and pace, the INL is set to lead, contribute to, and support development of nuclear reactor technologies required for multi-mission spacecraft and human exploration.
More than 70 current and former Idaho National Laboratory employees have received a "Group Achievement Award" by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for their efforts as part of the New Horizons mission launch in 2006. More.
Preparations are also under way for the potential future production of lunar surface power reactors at the INL complex.