NSA has successfully tested a design for a small nuclear-fission reactor, the Kilopower, that could provide a reliable source of power on the Moon.
Current space missions, reports Scientific American, use fuel cells, nuclear batteries or solar power, but each source has drawbacks. A a night on the Moon lasts two weeks, and the strength of sunlight on Mars is only 40% that of earth. “When we go to the moon and eventually on to Mars, we are likely going to need large power sources not dependent on the sun, especially if we want to live off the land,” says Jim Reuter, NASA’s acting associate administrator for space technology.
Kilopower is a small, lightweight fission reactor that can provide up to 10 kilowatts of electricity, enough to power three to eight typical American houses — and enough to power a human outpost on the Moon or Mars. more “Tiny Nuclear Reactors Could Provide Energy on the Moon”