posted on Feb, 19 2004 @ 08:26 AM
By Leonard David
Senior Space Writer
posted: 07:00 am ET
19 February 2004
ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico – A NASA project to Jupiter and several of its moons may depend on the U.S. Navy to provide the nuclear know-how in building a
reactor for deep space exploration.
The Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO) program is a flagship mission under NASA’s Project Prometheus – a multi-pronged effort to develop near- and
long-term nuclear electric power and propulsion technologies. JIMO would be powered by a compact nuclear reactor and propelled by a set of ion engines
that expel electrically charged particles to generate thrust
NASA and the scientific community are considering adding a Europa lander to JIMO. The high-tech lander could make on-the-spot surface observations at
the Jovian satellite. Europa is thought to harbor an ocean under its icy crust.
NASA as well as industry teams and other government agencies have begun to scope out how to build JIMO. Experts in nuclear-power technology gathered
at the Space Technology and Applications International Forum (STAIF), held here February 8-11, to discuss how best to re-energize a nuclear space
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