NASA and Idaho National Laboratory have just opened a competitive solicitation for U.S. nuclear and space industry leaders to develop innovative technologies for a fission surface power system that could be deployed on the surface of the moon by the end of the decade. Battelle Energy Alliance, the managing and operating contractor for INL, issued a request for proposals and announced the news on November 19. Proposals are due February 17.
November 23, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News
January 20, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News
Among the executive orders President Trump issued during his last weeks in office was “Promoting Small Modular Reactors for National Defense and Space Exploration,” which builds on the Space Policy Directives published during his term. The order, issued on January 12, calls for actions within the next six months by NASA and the Department of Defense (DOD), together with the Department of Energy and other federal entities. Whether the Biden administration will retain some, all, or none of the specific goals of the Trump administration’s space nuclear policy remains to be seen, but one thing is very clear: If deep space exploration remains a priority, nuclear-powered and -propelled spacecraft will be needed.
The prospects for near-term deployment of nuclear propulsion and power systems in space improved during Trump’s presidency. However, Trump left office days after a hot fire test of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket did not go as planned. The SLS rocket is meant to propel crewed missions to the moon in 2024 and to enable a series of long-duration lunar missions that could be powered by small lunar reactor installations. The test on January 16 of four engines that were supposed to fire for over eight minutes was automatically aborted after one minute, casting some doubt that a planned November 2021 Artemis I mission can go ahead on schedule.
December 18, 2020, 7:04AMNuclear News
A national strategy for the responsible and effective use of space nuclear power and propulsion (SNPP)—Space Policy Directive-6 (SPD-6)—was released by the White House on December 16 as a presidential memorandum.
Space nuclear systems include radioisotope power systems and nuclear reactors used for power, heating, or propulsion. Nuclear energy can produce more power at lower mass and volume compared to other energy sources and can shorten transit times for crewed and robotic spacecraft, thereby reducing radiation exposure in harsh space environments. SPD-6 establishes a road map for getting space nuclear systems into service and sets up high-level goals, principles, and federal agencies’ roles and responsibilities.
August 18, 2020, 11:35AMNuclear News
An article recently published on the IEEE Energywise blog heralds “Spacecraft of the Future,” which could be powered by lattice confinement fusion. While lattice confinement fusion is not a new concept and is definitely not ready for practical applications, it has been detected within metal samples by NASA researchers at the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, using an electron accelerator–driven experimental process.
July 27, 2020, 12:02PMNuclear News
A reliable energy source is critical for long-duration space exploration. NASA, targeting launch readiness by the end of 2026, has teamed up with the Department of Energy and Idaho National Laboratory to solicit realistic assessments of fission surface power systems designed for deployment on the Moon that could, with little modification, be sent to Mars as well.
February 6, 2019, 2:42PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Nuclear energy has played a key supporting role in historic missions to Mars, Pluto, and across the Solar System for the last 50 years. On January 1 2019, the nuclear-powered New Horizons flew by the most distant object ever observed up close - Ultima Thule, after it having already flown by Pluto in 2015.
January 31, 2019, 6:01AMANS Nuclear Cafe
Welcome to the New Year! Even though I am on the road, there is just so much happening lately in nuclear I could not pass up the opportunity to talk about it! This episode of RadioNuclear, we take a look at recent and exciting legislation and policy for advanced nuclear. This includes the passages of the NEIMA and NEICA bills and what the Idaho National Laboratory may look like in the coming years. We also discuss the NRC's recent decision on post Fukushima regulation. Lastly, we look on how you can adopt a dog from the Chernobyl exclusion zone. No, I am not making that up!
December 13, 2018, 9:20PMANS Nuclear Cafe
ANS member Dr. Christopher Morrison was a recent guest on The Space Show. Dr. Morrison covered space radiation, lifetime radiation limitations, legal limits, rodent GCR and radiation experimentation, terrestrial radiation simulations, space nuclear power & propulsion, super-cooling conductivity.
October 3, 2018, 8:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe
August 7, 2013, 6:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
A quick note of congratulations to NASA's Mars Curiosity rover project team on the first anniversary of a daredevil landing on Mars on August 6, 2012.
April 25, 2013, 6:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
In my previous article on the history of nuclear pulse propulsion, I outlined three research programs in nuclear propulsion systems for space travel. The first of these, Project Orion, was investigated in the 1950s and 1960s as a very serious and practical option for space travel. Its only limiting factor was the signing of the International Test Ban Treaty in 1963 that barred the detonation of nuclear weapons in space.
March 27, 2013, 6:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
In this first of a series of articles on nuclear propulsion for space travel, allow me to enlighten each of you about the fascinating history of this technology. This post will cover three early projects, with posts to follow that will explore other technologies along with an assessment of future prospects.
February 20, 2013, 2:57PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Cassini-Huygens is a Flagship-class NASA-ESA-ASI robotic spacecraft sent to the Saturn system. It has studied the planet and its many natural satellites since its arrival there in 2004, as well as observing Jupiter and the Heliosphere, and testing the theory of relativity. Launched in 1997 after nearly two decades of gestation, it includes a Saturn orbiter Cassini and an atmospheric probe/lander Huygens that landed in 2005 on the moon Titan. Cassini is the fourth space probe to visit Saturn and the first to enter orbit, and its mission is ongoing as of 2013. It is powered by a plutonium power source, and has facilitated many landmark scientific discoveries in its mission to the stars.
December 5, 2012, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The 2013 ANS Topical Meeting on Nuclear and Emerging Technologies for Space (NETS 2013) will be held February 25-28, 2013, at the Albuquerque Marriott in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
November 30, 2012, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
A joint Department of Energy and NASA team has demonstrated a simple, robust fission reactor prototype [note: see Comments for more accurate and complete description] intended for development for future space exploration missions. The DUFF (Demonstration Using Flattop Fissions) experiment represents the first demonstration in the United State-since 1965-of a space nuclear reactor system to produce electricity.
October 10, 2012, 6:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
From the American Nuclear Society to teachers interested in the nuclear sciences
August 21, 2012, 6:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
February 25-28, 2013 • Albuquerque Marriott, N.M.
August 10, 2012, 6:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
Even before its successful landing earlier this week, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory was already sending back important scientific data-about the radiation exposure that astronauts might face during a mission to the Red Planet.
August 6, 2012, 9:30PMANS Nuclear Cafe
August 3, 2012, 6:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe