Fission Surface Power System on moon. Courtesy http://spaceflight.nasa.gov
NASA has studied the use of nuclear power for lunar and Mars surface applications for many decades. The recent "Vision for Space Exploration" expressed by President Bush has renewed the interest in establishing a sustained human presence on the moon and initiating human missions to Mars. Under the President's vision, lunar surface missions would occur in the 2020's while Mars surface missions would follow in the 2030's. Power requirements for human-tended surface outposts and bases are expected to range from 25 to 100 kWe during the early build-up phases. As the base becomes fully operational with in-situ resource production and closed-loop life support, power requirements could approach 1 MW. The most mass-efficient means of providing high power for surface missions is through the use of nuclear fission systems.
Fission Surface Power Objectives:
Approach In Developing FSP Systems:
Potential Missions for Fission Surface Power:
Current Fission Surface Power Activities:
Before NASA was formed, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) was started by President Woodrow Wilson to supervise and direct the scientific study of the problems of flight. The NACA determined which problems should be experimentally worked on and discussed their solutions and their application to practical questions. The NACA also directed and conducted research and experiments in aeronautics.