NASA issued a record of decision (ROD) to use a nuclear battery (a multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator) on the next rover to go to Mars, in 2020. Sandia performed the Nuclear Risk Assessment that was the keystone analysis in the Environmental Impact Statement leading up to this ROD.
The next role that Sandia will play in supporting the Mars 2020 mission is to perform the safety analysis and produce the Safety Analysis Report for the Presidential launch-approval process. This activity will take several years.
The Advanced Nuclear Fuel Cycle Technologies Dept. led the Nuclear Risk Assessment effort, with major support from the Structural and Thermal Analysis Dept. and additional support from
- Severe Accident Analysis,
- Aerospace Systems Analysis, and
- Business Management.