Nuclear power plant for the Moon, Mars and other planets
August 29, 2011
U.S. researchers are developing the first nuclear power plant for the production of electricity on the bases of the Moon, Mars and other planets.
James E. Werner, project manager, reported to National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), that “This innovative fission technology is very different from current nuclear power stations onshore, spread over huge areas of land and have large structures, such as cooling towers. This new technology of fission, the reactor itself may be approximately 30 inches wide by 60 high, about the size of a carryon. In addition, there are no cooling towers. A system of nuclear fission energy is a compact, reliable and secure as it can be critical to establish national platforms or habitats on other planets. This technology can be applied on the Moon, on Mars, where NASA needs a continuous power generating point.”
The experts attempt to “build a demonstration unit of this technology in 2012. It is a cooperative project between NASA and the Department of Energy (DOE)”.
Sunlight more fuel were the pillars that generated electricity in past space missions. According to Werner, “The biggest difference between solar power reactors and nuclear power is that nuclear reactors can generate power in any environment. Nuclear fission technology is not dependent on sunlight, which is capable of producing large amounts of energy constant at night or in hostile environments like the Moon or Mars”.
“A fission power system on the moon could generate about the same amount of energy needed to supply eight houses on Earth. Furthermore, this power system could work in a variety of locations such as craters, canyons and caves.The main point is that nuclear power has the ability to provide power anywhere in our solar system and the technology is developed, affordable and safe.While the physics is the same, the low-power control of the reactor and the material used for the reflection of neutrons are completely different.”
Once this technology is fully developed and validated, can be an option more affordable and versatile to provide energy in the long-term space exploration.