A nuclear power plant is to be erected on the surface of the Silver Globe, and soon, before 2030. NASA has started looking for contractors.
As you know, NASA is currently working on the Artemis program, that is, the return of people to the moon. This time, however, not the purpose of a temporary visit, but the establishment of a base in which technologies ultimately developed for a manned mission to Mars are to be tested. Meanwhile, the base, which is rather not too revealing, requires a constant power source. The nuclear power plant will provide them.
With the support of the Idaho National Laboratory, NASA has announced that it is looking for people who can develop nuclear reactor fit to be transported to the moon and work in the conditions there. Project manager Sebastian Corbiziero comments:
Securing a solid, powerful system on the moon is an important next step in human space exploration, and this is within our reach.
The requirements are specific. The device must be built entirely on Earth, and then be sent to the surface of our natural satellite in a form that will make it possible hassle-free installation. Uranium has been selected as a fuel and the cooling system must be designed so that low atmospheric pressure does not interfere with its performance. (The pressure on the Moon is 6 times lower than on Earth.)
In addition, the total weight of the unit cannot exceed 6,000 kg, and its dimensions – 365 x 244 cm. Finally, the contractor must guarantee a service life of 10 years with a constant capacity of 40 kW.
Man returns to the moon
If NASA’s plans, otherwise accelerated during the Trump presidency, succeed, the first Artemis mission will depart February 2022. However, it will be an unmanned foray, consisting of an orbital flight of the Orion ship.
The first manned mission, although also exclusively orbital, is dated May 2024. At that time, the four astronauts are to be 8,900 km above the surface of the satellite. It is not until 2025 that the landing is planned, but with the pump immediately, because the team will spend 30 days on the site as planned.
Photo source: Press materials
Text source: NASA, ed. own