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This, I Like

Let’s hope NASA can actually make something of this project – NASA Eyes Nuclear Reactor for Moon Base:

Supported at a cost of about $10 million a year, the Fission Surface Power Project this week awarded two contracts for power conversion units, used to turn the heat of nuclear reactions into electricity…

The converter design by Sunpower Inc., of Athens, Ohio, uses two opposed piston engines coupled to alternators to produce a total of 12 kilowatts of power. Barber Nichols Inc. of Arvada, Colo., is developing a closed Brayton cycle engine that uses a high-speed turbine and compressor coupled to a rotary alternator. It also generates 12 kilowatts.

The ground system would not use any nuclear materials, said project manager Lee Mason.

“Our goal is to build a technology demonstration unit with all the major components of a fission surface power system and conduct non-nuclear, integrated system testing in a ground-based space simulation facility,” he said.

These contracts appear to be related to the initiative discussed in this earlier Mars Blog post on NASA nuclear power initiatives.

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