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NASA Wants to Power Moon Missions With Nuclear Power Within 10 Years

Big news: NASA wants to power moon missions with nuclear power. Is such a thing actually possible? It seems so, writes Chris Young in Interesting Engineering.

NASA and the Department of Energy (DOE) are collaborating to develop nuclear fission technology to power missions to the moon in the future.

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Moon Missions and Nuclear Power

Young writes that the U.S. space agency is “asking American companies for design concepts for a fission surface power system that could be ready to launch within a decade for a demonstration on the Moon.”

Additionally, NASA wants to “test fission reactors on the Moon because they are reliable, and can operate at any time.” The energy needed to complete this mission is massive — about 40 kilowatts of power. NASA says that’s enough to power 30 households for a decade!

What an incredible feat this would be. Technology and nuclear power is amazing!

“The U.S. space agency also pointed out that work on the lunar nuclear fission reactor will also help advance work into nuclear-powered rockets, such as a rocket being developed by a startup called Ad Astra, which, in theory, could reach speeds of up to 123,000 mph (~198,000 km/h) and travel to Mars in only a month.”

The C3 Take
  • To accomplish their goal, NASA and DOE are turning to the private sector to advance nuclear energy innovations.
  • One such company is a startup called Radiant, which is creating portable nuclear reactors for remote locations on Earth using space technology.
  • The private sector is creating clean energy innovations that will power future space travel.

Read the full article here.

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The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.

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