UNITED KINGDOM: Rolls-Royce has secured £2.9 million in funding from the UK Space Agency to develop a nuclear reactor that could provide a long-term energy source for lunar bases.
This funding follows a previous $249,000 study by the agency last year. The company is collaborating with various organizations, including the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and Nuclear AMRC, the University of Bangor, and the University of Oxford, to work on the micro-reactor program.
The project aims to develop a modular micro-reactor that can provide the necessary power for humans to live and work on the moon.
This would help increase the duration of future lunar missions and enhance their scientific value.
Rolls-Royce hopes to have a demonstration model for the microreactor ready for delivery to the moon by 2029.
The UK government has highlighted the potential benefits of the project, including job creation and growth in the space industry.
Science Minister George Freeman has emphasized the importance of space exploration as a laboratory for transformative technologies such as materials, robotics, and clean energy.
This project comes as humans prepare to return to the moon for the first time in over 50 years. The development of a nuclear micro-reactor could play a vital role in enabling humans to live and work on the moon for extended periods, paving the way for future space exploration and research.
The development of a nuclear reactor for the moon is not without challenges. The project will require significant investment in research and development, and safety and reliability will be paramount.
The risks of a nuclear accident in space are high, and it will be crucial to ensure that the micro-reactor is designed and built to the highest safety standards.
However, if successful, the project could have far-reaching implications for the future of space exploration and the development of new technologies.
It could also position the UK as a leader in nuclear power in space and open up opportunities for further investment and collaboration in the sector.
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