NASA, Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Department of Energy researchers have successfully tested a small nuclear reactor, called Kilopower, that could one day provide power for human residents on Mars. Available in several models from 1 kilowatt (good for a small kitchen appliance) to 10 kilowatts, several of them could be linked to together for a habitat on Mars. "Kilopower's compact size and robustness allows us to deliver multiple units on a single lander to the surface that provides tens of kilowatts of power," said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate. Continue reading for another video and more information.
"We would need power on Mars for two primary reasons. The first is that astronauts need power for their habitat, so that they can make oxygen, purify water, but prior to their arrival, we need to make liquid oxygen and propellant so that they can get off the Martian surface. Kilopower provides a fairly straightforward solution, requiring a minimal number of parts and thus lightweight, for the power needs of any planet-bound mission," said Patrick McClure, Project Lead for Reactor Development at Los Alamos.