NASA wants nuclear reactors on the Moon — Analysis

NASA wishes to build nuclear power reactors in order to launch lunar and planetary missions, US space agency stated Tuesday. It announced three contracts with Department of Energy for the development of concept designs for NASA by the end of this decade. Along with Westinghouse, Lockheed Martin, a military-industrial giant is also involved.

NASA plans to develop a design in the future “fission surface power system”The project is ready for launch before the end of this decade. John Wagner, director of the DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory, called the project “a very achievable first step toward the US establishing nuclear power on the Moon.” 

Each contract is worth $5,000,000 and funds initial designs for a 40-kilowatt, fission power plant. It must be able to withstand the harsh lunar environment for at least 10 year. NASA stated that the reactors can be tested on Mars if they are successful.

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Lockheed Margin, Westinghouse and IX will also be contractors. The joint venture is between Intuitive machines, the spacecraft designers, and X-Energy – developers of an experimental Pebble-bed reactor.

“Developing these early designs will help us lay the groundwork for powering our long-term human presence on other worlds,”Jim Reuter, NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.

Fission machines are smaller and lighter than other systems, but they can still provide a variety of benefits. “continuous power regardless of location, available sunlight, and other natural environmental conditions,”According to NASA, the agency is aiming for a space station. NASA also hopes for a successful launch. “critical information”This could come from the nuclear sector and lead to deep space exploration mission development.

The contracts are part of the Artemis program, a US initiative to return to the moon – and put the first-ever woman and person of color on the lunar surface. The twin sister Apollo was the Greek god named Apollo after whom it was named. Although initial plans called for the first landing to occur in 2024 according to NASA’s original schedule, NASA last year stated that they are no longer on track and could not do so due to lack funding.

NASA had announced in March that it would land human beings on Mars by 2040. NASA had to cancel the test flight of its Artemis I spacecraft because of technical difficulties less than one week later.



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