Astrophysics (Index)About

radioactive heating

(radiogenic heating)
(a source of heat of some planets and moons)

Radioactive heating (aka radiogenic heating) is heating due to radioactive decay, i.e., emission of alpha rays, beta rays (beta decay), or gamma rays, from unstable isotopes. It can be a significant source of heat within planets and moons, including Earth and the Moon. It has also been used as a spacecraft energy source. Regarding Earth, it is theorized to be sufficiently significant to constitute one key to Earth's active geology, plate tectonics, and habitability.

Further reading:

Referenced by pages:
atmospheric escape
magma ocean
planet structure
radiation zone
radioactive decay