The UK Space Agency has given Rolls-Royce funding to create a nuclear reactor for a Moon base. The project will investigate the potential for nuclear energy to support an astronaut base on the Moon in the future. The British company’s scientists and engineers are working on the Micro-Reactor program to create the technology that will allow people to live and work on Earth’s natural satellite.
A power source is required by every space mission to run the systems that support communications, life support and scientific experiments.
According to experts, using nuclear power could potentially significantly lengthen lunar missions. The project, which will deliver an initial demonstration of a UK lunar modular nuclear reactor, will now receive £2.9 million in new funding, according to the UK Space Agency. This follows a £249,000 study that the UK Space Agency funded in 2022.
“Space exploration is the ultimate laboratory for so many of the transformational technologies we need on Earth: from materials to robotics, nutrition, cleantech, and much more,” said science minister George Freeman.
In order to develop new power sources for a lunar base, we are supporting exciting research like this lunar modular reactor with Rolls-Royce as we get ready to witness humans return to the Moon for the first time in more than 50 years.
By 2029, Rolls-Royce hopes to have a reactor ready to launch to the moon.
The University of Oxford, the University of Bangor, the University of Brighton, the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) at the University of Sheffield, and the Nuclear AMRC are just a few of the partners it will work with.