The reactor is expected to fulfil a variety of tasks on the red planet, ranging from supplying astronauts with heat and air, to powering 3D printers that will be used for constructing buildings, APA reports quoting sputniknews.
NASA's Future In-Space Operations (FISO) Working Group has stated that its portable nuclear reactor, called Kilopower Reactor Using Stirling TechnologY (KRUSTY), will be ready to fly to Mars by 2022. Each KRUSTY will be capable of producing one to 10 kilowatts of electrical power while only being the size of a regular trash bin, not including the coolant systems' "umbrella" and weighing 1.5 tonnes each.
NASA is planning to use such reactors both in space and on other planets, including Mars. According to the agency's estimates, the base on Mars would require around 40 kilowatts to operate. Bearing this in mind, KRUSTY was developed to be part of modular system - four reactors will be interconnected to produce the necessary power, while the fifth will be kept dormant in case anything happens to one of the main reactors.