Monday, December 6

Nuclear fission reactors on the Moon: NASA looks for the best designs to turn them into reality

Neither the delays nor the pessimistic reports break NASA’s ambitions for its future missions to the Moon. The US space agency is working closely with the country’s energy department to find a way from bring fission reactors to the moon.

First the Moon, then on a ship and finally on Mars

As part of this research, a call has been made to propose designs for these reactors with the idea that they reach generate up to 10 kW of energy. Enough to supply “various quarters” with astronauts. In the header image you can see a reactor concept, with what looks like a circular roof that protects it from sunlight.

It would be a first step, because NASA wants to reach 40 kW generated and thus be able to power 30 rooms for ten years. Keep in mind that the energy demand of a “lunar house” is much higher than a terrestrial one, since there are extra demands such as maintaining life support, pressure, temperature and oxygen levels in the cabin.

For NASA, taking such a reactor to the moon is the right thing to do because it is compact, light and effective even on long lunar nights where you can’t depend on the sun. Such a reactor can be strategically placed in a crater to protect itself from solar radiation, harmful when arriving without any atmospheric filter.

The next steps for these space reactors are his arrival on mars, and NASA is even considering using them as a source of energy to propel spacecraft to the red planet. NASA will develop the most promising designs for one year to be delivered in February 2022 at the latest.

All this is part of NASA’s Artemis lunar program that wants to reach the satellite in 2024, although as we have commented, realistic reports do not place that moon landing until two or three years later. Let’s get away from pessimism: this decade we will return to the moon and it will be very interesting.

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