British carmaker Rolls-Royce will receive £2.9 million (about $3.5 million) to fund research into nuclear power that could be used for moon bases.
Rolls Royce said(Opens in a new window) UK Space Agency funding will help its scientists and engineers build a micro nuclear reactor by 2029 to “provide energy for humans to live and work on the Moon”. It will be carried out in collaboration with the University of Oxford, the University of Brighton and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (AMRC) at the University of Sheffield and will focus on the fuel used to generate heat, method of heat transfer and the technology to convert that heat. in electricity.
Like Space.com Remarks(Opens in a new window), with the majority of space travel powered by solar energy, the switch to nuclear power means that space travel will be less dependent on the Sun. Space missions depend on a power source to support communication, life support, and science experiment systems.
Abi Clayton, director of future programs at Rolls-Royce, said: “This funding will allow us to make the micro-reactor a reality, with the technology bringing immense benefits to both space and Earth. The technology will provide the capability to support commercial and defense use cases while providing a solution to decarbonize industry and deliver clean, safe and reliable energy.
Talk to CNBC(Opens in a new window), Dhara Patel, space expert at the National Space Center in Leicester, England, said the lifespan of lunar missions could be boosted by the use of nuclear power on the moon. “What will require particular attention is the nuclear fuel that will be used to generate heat, how it will be sourced responsibly, and how efficiently new technology will generate electricity from process and manage radioactive waste,” she added.
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The £2.7 million funding comes after a £51 million (about $62.3 million) fundraising campaign from the UK Space Agency to enable UK companies to develop communications and sailing to the moon. The agency also funded another £249,000 Rolls-Royce study last year.
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