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NASA and the Department of Energy have put out a joint request for proposals from those with ideas for a fission surface power system on the surface of the moon.
In collaboration with the US Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory, NASA is hoping to establish a sun-independent power source on the moon before the decade is out. This reactor would be constructed on Earth before being launched to the moon.
Proposals should include a uranium-fuelled reactor core, a system to convert nuclear power into usable energy and a thermal management system plus a distribution system capable providing at least 40 kilowatts of continuous electric power for 10 years within the lunar environment.
This system, which must weigh under 13,200 pounds and be small enough to fit within a 12-foot diameter cylinder, has to be able to turn off and on again without human assistance, and should be operable from the deck of a lunar lander, AP News reports.
Fission Surface Power Project lead at the lab, Sebastian Corbisiero, said:
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.
Associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, Jim Reuter, added:
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.
The deadline for all proposals is February 19, 2022. If you have any ingenious ideas kicking about for a nuclear reactor on the moon, you can submit your proposal here.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
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