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Nuclear Power on Moon: NASA Selects Design Concept for Fission Surface Power System


Published on: June 22, 2022,

Nuclear power is using nuclear energy to generate electricity. NASA and U.S Department of Energy ( DOE) are working together to advance space nuclear technologies. The agencies have selected three design concept proposals for a fission surface power to launch by the end of the decade for a demonstration on the Moon. This technology would benefit future exploration under the Artemis umbrella.


The contract is awarded through DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory and each is valued at approximately $ 5 million. It will provide 40 kilowatt class fission power system planned to last as least 10 years in the lunar environment. It will be relatively small and lightweight  compared to other power systems. It will use available sunlight and other natural environmental conditions. This will pave long duration mission on the Moon and the Mars.


“New technology drives our exploration of the Moon, Mars and beyond: said Jim Reuter associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. Idaho Nationals Laboratory will award 12 month contracts to Lockheed Martin of Bethesda, Maryland, Westinghouse of Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania and IX of Houston, Texas, a joint venture of Intuitive Machines and X-Energy,.


“ The fission Surface Power Project is a very achievable first step toward the United States establishing nuclear power on the Moon,” said said Idaho National Laboratory Director John Wagner. Fission surface power technologies also will help NASA mature nuclear propulsion system that rely on reactors to generate power. These system could be used for deep space exploration missions.



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