gbrumfiel writes: The Curiosity rover will soon start rolling, and when it does, it will be running on gas from a Russian weapon's plant. Slate has the story of how the plutonium-238 that powers the rover came from Mayak, a Sovit-era bomb factory. Mayak made the fuel through reprocessing, a chemical process used to make nuclear warheads that also polluted the surrounding environment. After the cold war ended, the Russians sold the spare pu-238 to NASA, which put some of it into Curiosity. Now, the Russian supply is running low and Nasa hopes to restart pu-238 production on US soil (They're planning on making less of a mess this time).
The most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing and to
watch someone else doing it wrong, without commenting.
-- T.H. White