NASA is working on a new project called Kilopower which focuses on nuclear energy in space. So, the American agency is about to make a big announcement.
This project involves the use of a nuclear reactor to generate clean energy on planetary surfaces. Thus, enabling long-duration stays on other planets. So, NASA will hold a press conference to reveal the latest results from its plans. The agency will discuss the results of its latest experiments, it has said in a press release.
The space agency has been conducting experiments since November 2017 through until March 2018, at the Nevada National Security Site or NNSS.
The Kilopower project is part of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate’s Game Changing Development program. NASA’s Langley Research Center manages it. NASA’s Glenn Research Center leads the Kilopower project team in partnership with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the Department of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration and several DOE laboratories: Los Alamos National Laboratory, Y-12 National Security Complex, and the Nevada National Security Site.
Energy for Space Explorers
So, NASA’s effort is to provide energy for space explorers as they make their way through the solar system. Generating the light, water and oxygen, are just some of the different tasks settlers will need energy for.
“Kilopower could provide safe, efficient and plentiful energy for future robotic and human space exploration missions,” explains the space agency.
The Kilopower would provide about ten times more power than the system currently used. Thus, allowing colonists for much longer space exploration.
Using nuclear fission will allow astronauts to be able to generate energy wherever they are.
“We want a power source that can handle extreme environments,” explains Lee Mason, NASA’s principal technologist for power and energy storage. “Kilopower opens up the full surface of Mars, including the northern latitudes where water may reside. On the moon, ‘Kilopower’ could be deployed to help search for resources in permanently shadowed craters.”
So, let’s wait for NASA to unveil its findings.
Thumbnail image: The Kilopower project. Credit: NASA