NASA tests nuclear reactors that can power life on Mars

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NASA is testing a nuclear fission reactor prototype that could enable long-term stays on the surface of the red planet.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the first humans on Mars will need to be able to generate power to transform the planet's water and carbon dioxide into liquid oxygen and fuel.

To enable such a feat, NASA and the Department of Energy have come up with the Kilopower project, a nuclear power system that comes with a Uranium reactor core, which uses fission to generate electricity.

Kilopower can generate 1 kilowatt of electricity, which can power a toaster, to 10 kilowatts, which can light up 100 bulbs.

Four to five 10-kilowatt units will be needed to power the habit- charging vehicles, generating safe drinking water, and oxygen.

The months-long testing for the kilopower prototype began in November at a Department of Energy National Security Site in Nevada.

Though a flight test is at least six to eight years away, if all goes well, the technology could be ready by the mid-2020s to early 2030s.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Mars settlement will need electricity to generate liquid oxygen and fuel
2. How the Kilopower nuclear reactor works
3. Electricity generated by Kilopower
4. Kilopower to be used to power Mars habitat

VOICEOVER (in English):
"The first humans on Mars will need to be able to generate power to transform the planet's water and carbon dioxide into liquid oxygen and fuel."

"Addressing this concern is the Kilopower project, a nuclear power system that comes with a Uranium reactor core, which uses fission to generate electricity."

"The system can generate 1 kilowatt of electricity, which can power a toaster, to 10 kilowatts, which can light up 100 bulbs."

"Four to five 10-kilowatt units will be needed to power the habit- charging vehicles, generating safe drinking water, and oxygen."

SOURCES:
Las Vegas Review-Journal, Reuters
https://www.reviewjournal.com/news/science-and-technology/nuclear-reactor-being-tested-in-nevada-could-power-mars-mission/
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-space-nuclear/u-s-tests-nuclear-power-system-to-sustain-astronauts-on-mars-idUSKBN1F72T8