Space Mission Nuke Reactor Passes Ground Testing

Space Mission Nuke Reactor Passes Ground Testing

That amount of power is, says NASA, enough to power several average homes, or in this case, a small planetary habitat.

The prototype system uses a solid, cast uranium-235 reactor core, about the size of a paper towel roll.

"When we go to the moon and finally to Mars, we will probably need large sources of energy independent from the Sun", said James Reuther, acting assistant superintendent of the Mission of NASA's space technology.

The Kilopower portable nuclear fission reactor is just one of the NASA's great plans, which also include the Space Launch Systems, Orion spaceship, along with the lunar platform which NASA plans to use as a research and deeper space exploration missions launch base. That's why NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are collaborating to create a space-ready nuclear reactor, which harvests energy from active nuclear fission, or atom splitting. The team tested the reactor at the DOE Nevada National Security Site in four phases. The first two phases, conducted without power, confirmed that each component of the system behaved as expected. It is a lightweight fission power system capable of producing 10 kilowatts of electricity continuously for at least ten years. During the third phase, the team increased power to heat the core incrementally before moving on to the final phase.

According to David Poston of National Nuclear Security Administration's Los Alamos National Laboratory, the objective of the recent experiment in Nevada was two-fold: to demonstrate that the system can create electricity with fission power, and to show the system is stable and safe no matter what environment it encounters.

Engineers at NASA's Johnson Space Center are designing containers to safely store spent fuel on-site, since returning it to Earth would not be practical, said Patrick Cahalane, the principal deputy associate administrator for safety, infrastructure and operations at the National Nuclear Security Administration. Research on space-ready fission reactors has been mired by high costs and lengthy time frames from the late 1970s to the early 2000s, which resulted in many canceled projects.

Twitter reacts to Matt Ryan becoming NFL's richest man
And while he still has two years remaining on his contract , GM Brian Gutekunst is confident of an extension coming soon . The new deal will keep the 32-year-old - who turns 33 on May 17 - in Atlanta through the 2023 season.

A new type of device for generating energy comprises a nuclear reactor, Stirling engine and alternator.

"Really everything ran perfectly during the test", said Kilopower lead engineer Marc Gibson, according to the Review-Journal.

We threw everything we could at this reactor, in terms of nominal and off-normal operating scenarios and KRUSTY passed with flying colours.
Passive sodium heat pipes transfer heat into a high-efficiency Stirling engine, a closed-cycle engine that uses expansion and compression of gas to convert the heat into power.

"We put the system through its paces", said Gibson.

To see if it actually worked, scientists tested KRUSTY out in the Nevada desert on America's old nuclear test range.

Officials believe this type of system could be used for traveling to the Moon, where power generation from sunlight is hard due to lunar nights, a period where it stays dark for the equivalent of two weeks on Earth.

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