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The U.S. has sent multiple space probes to the outer planets, like Voyager 1 and 2, Galileo, and more recently Cassini, New Horizons, and Juno. All except Juno are nuclear powered, which is nearly a necessity so far from the sun, where solar energy falls to a fifth or less the intensity of near-Earth sunlight. But as commercial space programs expand into deep space, science missions to deep space will be joined by commercial endeavors, and Russia might be the first to bring nuclear power to the outer planets for commercial purposes.

Russia announced it plans to develop, build, and launch a nuclear-powered transport and energy module called "Zeus" on a 50-month mission into deep space, according to a press release from the Russian News Agency (TASS).


The first flight is set for 2030, and the flight plan involves a visit to one of Jupiter's moons.

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