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The Department of Energy has an accomplished history in these efforts – of reaching to, and beyond the many ways, DOE actually stands for the Department of Exploration.

Dan Brouillette
Secretary of Energy

Virtual Roundtable Discussion

Virtual Roundtable Graphic

DOE held a virtual roundtable Department of Exploration! Because You Can’t Get to Space without the U.S. Department of Energy on September 10th, 2020.

This event highlighted how DOE cooperates with NASA and the National Space Council to support the President’s Space Policy and to understand how cutting-edge DOE and National Labs research is an essential part of space travel and exploration.

Listen to a recording of the event here.

Keynote speakers:

  • Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette
  • DOE Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar

Award-winning science writer and space reporter, Alan Boyle from GeekWire led a roundtable discussion with space experts:

  • Tracey Bishop, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Infrastructure Programs, DOE Office of Nuclear Energy
  • Dr. Kevin Greenaugh, Assistant Deputy Administrator for Strategic Partnership Programs, NNSA
  • Dr. Ralph McNutt, Chief Scientist, Space Department, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory
  • Dr. Ben Reinke, Executive Director, DOE Office of Strategic Planning and Policy
  • Eric Stallmer, President, Commercial Spaceflight Federation
  • Former Congressman Bob Walker, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, moonWalker Associates


Direct Current is DOE's free podcast, which recently aired two episodes about DOE technology onboard the Mars Perseverance Rover. Check out the Direct Current podcasts below.

Cover art for Direct Current podcast episode "Mars 2020, Part 1: Powered by Plutonium" featuring a silhouette of the Mars Perseverance rover on a green background.
Cover art for Direct Current podcast episode, “Mars 2020, Part 2: SuperCam Does It All” featuring a silhouette of the Perseverance Rover on a reddish orange background.

Department of Exploration Articles

DOE: Department of Energy or Department of Exploration?
America is on the verge of a new era of space exploration.
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Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators, Plutonium-238, and SuperCams, Oh My!
America’s pioneering spirit will propel us to new heights of Mars and beyond and DOE's national labs will continue to play a crucial part!
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Remarks as Prepared for Secretary Brouillette at the National Space Council
Secretary Brouillette spoke about our work with the Council in powering space exploration and development and role as the "Department of Exploration."
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Nuclear Power System Delivered for NASA’s Perseverance Rover
The U.S. Department of Energy successfully built, tested and delivered an MMRTG to power NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover.
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The History of Nuclear Power in Space
Explore the history of nuclear power systems in U.S. space exploration -- from early satellites to the moon, Mars and beyond.
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Space-Based Solar Power
Capturing solar power in space for use as energy on Earth seems farfetched. But recent developments could make this a reality in coming years.
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First Space-Based Measurement of Neutron Lifetime
Durham University researchers have helped to find a way of measuring neutron lifetime from space for the first time.
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Stargazing with Computers: What Machine Learning Can Teach Us About the Cosmos
Scientists are developing machine learning techniques now to tackle the staggering amount of data that the LSST Camera will produce in the future.
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The Nuclear Heart of Cassini
A farewell tribute to NASA's Cassini spacecraft, which was powered by plutonium from the Department of Energy.
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KRUSTY project demonstrates potential power sources for future space exploration
NNSA and NASA joined forces to develop a power source able to support deep space travel and outlast existing fuel sources.
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Revealing the Reactions Behind How Complex Carbon Molecules Form in Space
Understanding how polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons form can help scientists better understand the origin and evolution of carbon in our galaxy.
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Deep Learning Reveals Mysteries of Deep Space
Supercomputer use offers insights into how to best describe the nature of our universe.
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EERE Success Story—New 3D Printing Aerospace Grade Carbon Fiber Method is Ahead of the Curve
A new 3D printing process is allowing researchers to write using carbon fiber-containing inks.
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America is on the verge of a new era of space exploration, and America’s leadership in the space domain will be due to its courage to go and its conviction to stay.  DOE, by many measures the “Department of Exploration,” is proud to be playing an essential part in rising to these challenges.

Paul M. Dabbar
Under Secretary for Science