Do you or a buddy know how to construct a uranium-fueled Nuclear reactor that will fit inside a 12-foot-long by 18-foot-wide (4-by-6-meter) rocket? Will you be able to complete the project by the end of the decade? If that’s the case, NASA and the US Department of Energy want to hear from you. According to a statement released on Nov. 19 by the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL), the lab is collaborating with NASA to establish a “durable, high-power, sun-independent” fission reactor on the moon within the next 10 years.
The two organisations are presently seeking ideas from outside partners to help them get this ambitious initiative off the ground, with a deadline of February 19, 2022. According to agency experts, this hypothetical reactor would aid in transforming the moon into an interplanetary base for human space exploration, including future manned journeys to Mars. Some fundamental parameters are included in the request for bids.
The reactor will be built on Earth and then launched to the moon, where it will be required to generate 40 kilowatts of continuous electric power for a period of ten years. To keep the device cool, the reactor must include temperature controls. The solicitation comes as NASA ramps up its Artemis mission, which intends to establish a long-term human presence on the moon by the end of the decade.