NASA has picked three design concepts for building a fission surface power system on the Moon. The project, part of the Artemis umbrella, is anticipated to launch by the end of the decade. The contracts for the companies behind these design concepts are worth approximately $5 million.
NASA Wants to Make Nuclear Power Plants for the Moon
NASA has chosen Lockheed Martin in partnership with BWXT and Creare, Westinghouse in partnership with Aerojet Rocketdyne, and IX in partnership with Maxar and Boeing for the contracts. The contract is for a period of 12 months.
According to NASA’s press release, these $5 million contracts will fund the development of the initial concepts for a 40-kilowatt class fission power system that’s expected to last at least 10 years on the Moon. “The Fission Surface Power project is a very achievable first step toward the United States establishing nuclear power on the Moon,” said Idaho National Laboratory Director John Wagner.
NASA says fission systems are relatively smaller and lightweight than other power systems and ensures continuous power regardless of external factors including location, sunlight, and other natural conditions. These systems would help the space agency in its long-duration missions on Mars and the Moon. They will also help develop ‘nuclear propulsion systems that rely on reactors to generate power.‘
“New technology drives our exploration of the Moon, Mars, and beyond,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. “Developing these early designs will help us lay the groundwork for powering our long-term human presence on other worlds.”
For this, NASA has collaborated with the Department of Energy (DOE). It is said that the Fission power system will help NASA in deep space exploration missions. So, what are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below.