The Moon and Mars seem to be the best candidates for future human colonies, with some entities hoping to begin colonization operations in less than a decade. It seems that the American Energy Depart is quite keen on this goal, as private companies may build nuclear power plants on the Red Planet and our closest neighbor.
A formal request has been published on Friday, describing a fission surface power system. Experts from the Energy Department, The Idaho National Laboratory, and NASA will analyze submission and pick a company as a partner.
The government has decided to divide the project into two well-defined stages to facilitate observations and testing. During the first stage, a reactor design will be developed and submitted for approval. Once the design is approved, two prototypes will be constructed. One of the prototypes will be used for tests, while the other will be shipped to the moon.
The construction of the prototypes is included in the building stage, which also involves the creation of a flight system and lander that will be powerful enough to carry the reactor to the desired destination and ensure that it will reach the surface without being damaged.
There are several requirements that have to be met from the design stage before design will be taken into consideration. The future reactor will have to be able to work continuously for at least one decade, and o generate at least 10 kilowatts without interruptions.
It is worth noting that the projected output is quite low as the average American household is powered by nuclear plants with a capacity of 11,000 kilowatts per hour. However, since the starting colonies will be quite small, there is no need to ship a massive power source from the get-go.
Several small reactors could also be linked to provide additional power as the colony continues to grow.