Got an idea for a nuclear reactor on the moon? Talk to NASA

NASA hopes to empower a sustainable human presence on the moon, and its requested proposals for a nuclear solution to enable it.

1 minute & 16 seconds read time

NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory (IDL) are collaborating to create a power source on the moon that doesn't rely on the Sun.

Got an idea for a nuclear reactor on the moon? Talk to NASA 01

The duo have issued a request for proposals regarding a nuclear fission power plant, something Rolls Royce is also working on in collaboration with the UK Space Agency.

"Providing a reliable, high-power system on the moon is a vital next step in human space exploration, and achieving it is within our grasp," said Sebastian Corbisiero, the Fission Surface Power Project lead at IDL.

With a successful implementation on the moon's surface, aiming to support a sustained human presence, the next goal would be to do the same on Mars.

"I expect fission surface power systems to greatly benefit our plans for power architectures for the moon and Mars and even drive innovation for uses here on Earth," said Jim Reuter, associate administrator for NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate.

The reactor would be built on Earth before being sent to the moon, and any submitted plans have some requirements. The fission surface power system should include a uranium-fueled reactor core, a means of converting nuclear power into usable energy, a cooling solution for the reactor, and a distribution network capable of providing no less than 40 kilowatts of continuous electricity for a decade on the moon.

Additionally, powering on and off should be possible without human input. It should be operable from a lunar lander and any mobile platform transporting it to other lunar sites. The power system should be able to fit inside a 4 meter (12 feet) diameter, 6 meters long (18 feet) cylinder, and not exceed 6,000 kilograms (13,200 pounds).

The deadline for proposals is February 19th, 2022. Good luck.

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Adam grew up watching his dad play Turok 2 and Age of Empires on a PC in his computer room, and learned a love for video games through him. Adam was always working with computers, which helped build his natural affinity for working with them, leading to him building his own at 14, after taking apart and tinkering with other old computers and tech lying around. Adam has always been very interested in STEM subjects, and is always trying to learn more about the world and the way it works.

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