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Rolls-Royce to develop nuclear reactor for lunar base

Rolls-Royce has received funding from the British Space Agency to develop a nuclear reactor for a lunar base.

The project will study how nuclear power could be used to support a future base on the Moon for astronauts permanently residing on the moon.
Scientists and engineers from the British company are working on the microreactor program to develop technology that would provide the energy humans need to live and work on Earth's natural satellite.

All space missions depend on a source of energy, to support communication systems, life support and scientific experiments. According to experts, nuclear energy could drastically increase the duration of lunar missions.

The British Space Agency has announced new £2.9 million funding for the project, which includes a first demonstration of a lunar modular nuclear reactor.

The funding comes after a £249,000 study funded by the UK Space Agency in 2022 for the concept study.

Science Minister George Freeman said: “Space exploration is the ultimate laboratory for many of the transformative technologies we need on Earth – from materials to robotics, nutrition, cleantech and so much more.

As we prepare to see humans return to the Moon for the first time in over 50 years, we are supporting exciting research such as this modular lunar reactor with Rolls-Royce to test new energy sources for a lunar base."
“Partnerships like this, between UK industry, the UK Space Agency and the Government, help create jobs in our £16bn Space Tech sector and ensure the UK continues to be a major force in frontier science.”

Rolls-Royce plans to have a reactor ready to send to the moon by 2029.

He will work with a number of collaborators, including Oxford University, Bangor University, Brighton University, the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (AMRC) and Nuclear AMRC.

Compared to other power systems, a relatively small and lightweight nuclear microreactor could enable continuous power regardless of location, available sunlight, and other environmental conditions.

Abi Clayton, director of future programs at Rolls-Royce, said: "This funding will take us further in the realization of the microreactor, a technology that will bring immense benefits to both space and the Earth." “The technology will be able to support commercial and defense use cases, as well as provide a solution to decarbonise industry and deliver clean, safe and reliable energy.”

Paul Bate, director general of the British Space Agency, said: "This groundbreaking research from Rolls-Royce could lay the foundations for fueling a continued human presence on the Moon, while improving the wider UK space sector, creating jobs work and generating further investments”.

Rolls-Royce is currently working on small modular reactors to generate power to meet the energy needs of the UK, the study of which is already extremely advanced.

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The article Rolls-Royce will develop nuclear reactor for a lunar base comes from Economic Scenarios .

This is a machine translation of a post published on Scenari Economici at the URL https://scenarieconomici.it/rolls-royce-sviluppera-il-reattore-nucleare-per-una-base-lunare/ on Sat, 18 Mar 2023 16:20:12 +0000.