I am not a physicist but I would really like to know what trained physicists think about this problem that came up in conversation the other day.
I have been reading about the search for habitable planets for a little while and about the conditions it takes for a planet to be habitable. I understand that the right amount of heat is important for ideal conditions. Then I caught an interesting documentary on Oppenheimer, Heisenberg and the race for the atomic bomb in world war II. The documentary said something to the effect that a nuclear detonation or any nuclear reaction is very much like a small, very temporary star on earth. It got me thinking that nuclear reactors must also be analogous to mini-stars or suns so I started wondering what it would take to create a nuclear reactor that could make a planet (or moon) more habitable by allowing the heat produced to escape the reactor and warm the planet's surface.
As an example, once the technology exists for a nuclear fusion reactor, could it possible to assemble one outside our atmosphere, send it into orbit around, for example, Jupiter's icy moon Europa in order to heat the surface and create more habitable conditions for life?