Nuclear fission power system on the Moon, illustration

Nuclear fission power system on the Moon, illustration

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Credit: NASA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Nuclear fission power system on the Moon. Illustration of how a potential future power system for spacecraft could be used on the Moon. Such systems could be used elsewhere in the solar system, including missions to Mars. This is the Kilopower Reactor Using Stirling Technology (KRUSTY) experiment, a collaboration between NASA and the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The core of the system is a uranium-235 reactor, with passive sodium heat pipes transferring the reactor heat to high-efficiency Stirling engines that convert the heat to electricity. The system could operate continuously for at least 10 years. The Kilopower experiment was conducted at the NNSA's Nevada National Security Site from November 2017 to March 2018. Image published in May 2018.

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