Rolls-Royce gets funding for moon-based nuclear reactor | Science & Technology News

It is hoped that the final lunar base will prove to be a suitable home for astronauts, where they can work on scientific experiments. Rolls-Royce aims to have its nuclear reactor ready by 2029.

By means of Tom Acres, technology reporter

Friday, March 17, 2023 4:22 AM, UK

Rolls-Royce has been given money to build a nuclear reactor for a base on the moon.

It may sound like setting up one James Bond film, but is in fact part of a very realistic project that aims to see people living and working on the lunar surface.

The UK Space Agency has given Rolls-Royce a new £2.9 million to build the reactor, following a £249,000 study last year that it also funded.

Engineers and scientists from the British company are working on the Micro-Reactor program, which will explore how nuclear power could one day support a full-time lunar base.

It is hoped that it would provide enough energy for communication, life support and experimentation.

Rolls-Royce aims to have a reactor ready by 2029. It is collaborating with universities such as Oxford, Bangor, Sheffield and Brighton to achieve the goal.

Science Minister George Freeman said: “Space exploration is the ultimate laboratory for so many of the transformational technologies we need on Earth: from materials to robotics, nutrition, cleantech and beyond.”

He said the project was another sign that the UK is a “major force in frontier science”.

Rolls-Royce’s vision of a lunar colony…

The government says the UK’s aerospace industry is worth £16 billion.

Only California builds more satellites than the UKAnd optimism remains that they will soon be launched from British soilDespite a failed attempt to do so in Newquay earlier this year.

Dr. Paul Bate, chief executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “This innovative research from Rolls-Royce could lay the groundwork for enabling a continuous human presence on the moon, while improving the wider UK space sector, creating jobs and generating further investment.” .”

Work on the lunar base comes as humans prepare to return to the moon for the first time in more than 50 years.

NASA’s Artemis mission started in November And aims to return astronauts – including the first woman – to the surface by the end of 2025.

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