Atomic battery

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An atomic battery is any device that converts Radioactive Decay into electricity. They are typically simpler than fission or fusion reactors, and require less maintenance and monitoring.

Importance to Martian Settlement

Atomic batteries offer a short term solution to power generation needs. They show the most promise for initial settlements and outposts. Their high power to mass ratio makes them ideal for shipment with the initial settlement materials, where they can provide power while other generation methods are developed. Unless significant deposits of radioactive material are discovered on Mars, the only way to build them is to import the material from Earth.

Types of Atomic Battery

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Atomic batteries can be classified by the decay product they utilize. Some devices may make use of multiple methods.


Radioactive decay produces heat.

Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator
Main Article: Radioisotope thermoelectric generator

RTGs use thermocouples to convert the heat energy directly to electrical energy.

Thermionic Converter


Heated materials, such as the radioactive core, emit infrared light which can be captured by specialized photovoltaic cells.

Beta Particle Radiation

Beta Particles (electrons) can be converted directly into electricity.

See Also