NASA KRUSTY, a Nano nuclear reactor that is designed for human space exploration also spacecraft missions to the red planet. NASA designs this project combines with the U.S. Department of Energy and conducted tests in the Nevada desert.
The aim of the project is creating a reliable energy source for space crafts to operate on Mars and other far destinations of the Solar system.
KRUSTY (Kilowatt Reactor Using Stirling Technology) testing since the 1960s and used in Cassini and the Curiosity rover missions. This type of thermoelectric generators splits atoms and produce heat that converts electricity.
The testing of the nuclear fission reactor has completed in a vacuum environment. The space agency will soon be testing at full power in March. “The Kilopower science program will give us confidence that this technology is ready for space flight development,” said Lee Mason a technologist at NASA.
The KRUSTY reactor will make use of a Uranium-235 that releases energy about 1KW to 10 KW that is sufficiently controls power on one household appliance. While, the Mars rover mission will require up to 40KW of power. So, NASA installed multiple reactors for each mission.
“So Kilopower’s compact size and robustness allow us to deliver multiple units on a single lander to the surface that provides tens of kilowatts of power,” said Steve Jurczyk of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.
The atmospheric conditions on mars is very critical. In that conditions, Kilopower project is very useful that could keep life support systems up and running for 10 years. It also converts Martian ice into useable fuel.
According to researchers, this new technology provides hundreds of kilowatts or even megawatts of power.