NASA's Prometheus program is looking for input on the possibility of developing a space nuclear reactor.
Prometheus Nuclear Systems & Technology, along with Department of Energy's Office of Naval Reactors, is evaluating the possibility of developing a space nuclear reactor to supply future exploration spacecraft with a significant increase in on-board power and spacecraft propulsion capability. Such an increase in power would enable missions to the outer reaches of the solar system and beyond as well as substantially increasing the amount of science per mission.
Image: Artist's concept of a Prometheus spacecraft. Credit: NASA
As a first step, NASA is evaluating whether or not to pursue development of a space nuclear reactor to provide on-board spacecraft power and propulsion capabilities.
"We're seeking input on what sorts of issues we should consider in our evaluation," said Matt Forsbacka, the program manager. "We welcome public comment at each stage of the process." Prometheus Nuclear Systems and Technology will document the evaluation, including alternatives to be considered in a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) scheduled for publication in 2006.
NASA plans to hold three public scoping meetings to provide information on the Prometheus PEIS and solicit public comments. Two meetings will be held on Tuesday, April 19, at the Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa, Florida, from 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m EDT. A third meeting will be held in Washington, DC on April 26 from 1 to 4 p.m. EDT at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill.
Explore further: Manchester scientists boost NASA's missions to Mars