Space Exploration and Nuclear Technology

Few people think about or appreciate the extent to which we benefit from nuclear technology. Clean electricity, medical diagnostics and treatments, food safety and space exploration. Just to name the obvious.

NASA has recently announced another project to put nuclear power in space. The agency has been working on “Kilopower” – a project to use nuclear reactors to generate for decades, clean energy on the Moon, Mars and beyond. NASA’s latest experiments, conducted in 2017 and 2018, at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS), have been promising. “This pioneering space fission power system could provide up to 10 kilowatts of electrical power — enough to run two average households — continuously for at least ten years. Four Kilopower units would provide enough power to establish an outpost,” according to a NASA statement.

They will provide energy for a wide variety of tasks, including generating the light, water and oxygen needed to conduct experiments and send information back to Earth. These little power plants are rugged, and can operate in extreme environments, making them highly valuable for space exploration.