NASA’s taking nuclear energy into space

NASA’s taking nuclear energy into space

23 September 2019
#Tech Nuclear space
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The conquest of space is more than ever at the centre of public attention, with projects like SpaceX and The Stealth Space Company, but who better than NASA to fulfil this dream that has existed for thousands of years? The US space agency has recently released a project that has captivated its engineers since 2012 – “Kilopower”, a new type of nuclear reactor. It’s not more powerful than other reactors, nor is it cheaper or more ecological – but it’s portable. This “pocket” nuclear reactor was tested in the Nevada desert and came through successfully, having worked at full capacity for 28 hours and generating 3kW of electrical power. Although the ultimate aim is to use natural energy sources to power future settlements on Mars and the moon, the intermittence of this energy is a risk that the settlers won’t be able to take. Active nuclear fission therefore seems to be the solution as it is reliable, compact, not too expensive, and above all, controllable. Kilopower will now go through a new battery of tests, in space this time, before maybe becoming the energy source for our future Martian and lunar settlers.

 

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