NASA who want to construct a nuclear fission energy plant in the lunar surface, said Friday that it was open to proposals for a preliminary design of the system.
According to the Associated Press reported that NASA is working with U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory to create the power source that is separate from the sun, to power lunar missions before the end of this decade.
“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,” Sebastian Corbisiero is lead of the Fission Surface Power Project’s lead in the laboratory, stated in an announcement.
Proposals are accepted through February 19. The goal is to build an reactor in Earth before sending it to the moon.
Fission-powered surface power systems can supply continuous power, regardless of the moon’s environment According to AP. In the event that the plant proves efficient on the moon NASA’s next target is to build it on Mars.
“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,” Jim Reuter, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, made the announcement in an announcement.
Plans submitted for the fission-surface power system must include a uranium-fueled reactor’s core and a method to convert the power of nuclear into energy usable and a thermal management system that keeps cooling the core of the reactor, as well as the distribution system should provide at least 40 kilowatts of electrical power for a period of 10-years in lunar atmosphere.
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Other requirements are that it is capable of turning off and back on without assistance, and that it is capable of operating from the lunar spacecraft, as well as can be removed from its lunar lander and operated on a mobile platform and transferred to a new lunar site to operate.
Furthermore, when it’s taken from Earth to the moon it must be able to fit inside the 12-foot (4-meter) wide cylinder, which is about 18 feet (6 meters) long. It shouldn’t exceed 13200 pounds (6,000 kilograms).