The US has completed successful tests of a nuclear power system, called the Kilopower project, created to sustain a long-duration NASA human mission on Mars.
The US has completed successful tests of a nuclear power system created to sustain a long-duration NASA human mission on Mars.
Speaking at the Las Vegas news conference, officials from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the US Department of Energy, commented on the development of the nuclear system that is part of NASA`s Kilopower project.
The idea is to provide energy for future astronaut and robotic missions in space, and particularly on the hostile surface of Mars and other solar system destinations. The technology could potentially support life-systems while allowing astronauts to mine resources and transform them – for example, it can help them turn ice into oxygen, water, and fuel.
“Mars is a very difficult environment for power systems, with less sunlight than Earth or the moon, very cold nighttime temperatures, very interesting dust storms that can last weeks and months that engulf the entire planet.”, as Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator of NASA`s Space Technology Mission Directorate told Reuters.
Jurczyk added that Kilpower would be used to deliver multiple units on a single lender to the surface that provides tens of kilowatts of power. Testing of the system has also been described as “gratefully successful”, as the models the scientist crafted has predicted very well what has happened in the test.
According to officials who spoke to Reuters, the full-power test will be conducted in the second half of March, a bit later than initially planned.