Nuclear Black Box Would Aid Recovery, Says University Of Missouri Prof

Patrick Pinhero, a professor at the University of Missouri’s Chemical Engineering Department, suggests that a betavoltaic battery could keep black box location beacons operating longer on downed aircraft and aid recovery. “The current battery that powers the underwater locator beacon is a lithium ion battery that can operate for 30 to 40 days,” said Pinhero. “As seen in the recovery efforts with [Malaysia Airlines] Flight 370, lithium ion batteries have a finite life once activated,” he added. Pinhero advocates a betavoltaic battery as an alternative. Betavoltaic batteries – frequently used to power spacecraft on decades-long missions – use a radioactive source, such as tritium, to generate electricity. 

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.