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The design was produced as part of a NASA-funded study Image courtesy General Atomics US-based General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) has delivered a design concept for a nuclear thermal propulsion reactor to power future astronaut missions to Mars.

The design was produced as part of a NASA-funded study. GA-EMS said its design exceeded the key performance parameters requested by NASA.

The reactor concept incorporates advancements in modern nuclear materials and manufacturing methods with experience from GA-EMS’s involvement on NASA Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Project Rover in the 1960s. Project Rover was one of the first programmes to demonstrate the feasibility of space-based nuclear thermal propulsion.

GA fabricated approximately six tonnes of the nuclear fuel kernels for the project. In 1965, the company was also directly involved in nuclear fuel testing and characterisation for the SNAP-10A reactor, the only US nuclear power reactor launched into space, which powered the satellite for 43 days. The fuel used for that reactor is the same fuel that has been used since the 1950s in General Atomics Triga reactors.

Date: Wednesday, 16 September 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/general-atomics-submits-nuclear-reactor-concept-for-missions-to-mars-9-2-2020

On 21 July, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the Moon. During the brief few hours he and Buzz Aldrin spent on the surface they deployed a suite of scientific experiments, some of which would depend on radioisotope heaters to protect them from the harsh lunar night. Dr Jonathan Cobb, senior communication manager at World Nuclear Association, describes nuclear technology's role in the historic event.

Date: Thursday, 18 July 2019
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Nuclears-small-role-in-humanitys-biggest-adventu

BWX Technologies, Inc yesterday hosted officials from NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) for progress updates and technology demonstrations related to BWXT’s nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) programme.

Date: Wednesday, 10 October 2018
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/NASA-officials-get-update-on-nuclear-thermal-propu

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) yesterday announced the successful testing of a uranium-fuelled Stirling engine for use in possible future missions to Mars. Testing of the Kilopower reactor - which could be used to provide power to missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond - began at NASA's Nevada National Security Site in November 2017 and was completed in March.

Date: Thursday, 03 May 2018
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/NASA-successfully-tests-Kilopower-reactor

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has awarded BWXT Nuclear Energy a $18.8 million contract to initiate conceptual designs for a nuclear thermal propulsion reactor in support of a possible future manned mission to Mars. BWXT Nuclear Energy is a subsidiary of nuclear components, fuel and services provider BWX Technologies, which is based in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Date: Friday, 04 August 2017
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/NASA-boosts-nuclear-thermal-propulsion-with BWXT-c

On the drawing board, another nuclear-powered rover (Image: NASA)

 
A nuclear power source is likely to sustain NASA's next exploration of Mars - a robot that will take a package of samples for return to Earth and address gaps in the knowledge required for manned exploration.

Date: Friday, 12 July 2013
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/NASA-plans-its-next-Mars-rover

Space travel to Mars and beyond may only be possible through the use of nuclear rocket technology, NASA suggests. Such spacecraft would be much faster than conventional craft, cutting the length of the mission and thereby reducing radiation exposure to astronauts.

Date: Friday, 31 May 2013
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Nuclear-rocket-puts-Mars-within-reach

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