Almost as if to throw a bone to the Sci-fi fans and dreamers of the world, NASA has announced that it is looking to build a nuclear fission power plant on the moon. And it is looking for your suggestions on how to accomplish this! Specifically NASA, partnering with the US government, is requesting that suggestion on how to successfully build a nuclear power plant on the moon be submitted by February 19th.
“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,” states Jim Reuter, an associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.
For those interested in submitting their proposals, NASA has a few requirements. The proposed nuclear plant should be able to provide 40 kilowatts of power continuously for the next decade, with the ability to turn itself on and off without human assistance. The proposal should also contain a “uranium-fueled reactor core”, the ability to convert nuclear power into usable energy, and a thermal management system.
Since this power system will be built on earth (for obvious reasons), it’s dimensions will need to fit inside a cylinder thats 4-meters in diameter and 6 meters long, weighing no more than 6,000 kilograms for transport to the moon.
Finally, this system will have to have the capability to operate from the deck of a lunar lander with the ability to be removed from the lander, and run on a mobile system.
In the event that this system is successful on the moon, it will provide an additional option as to how we can potentially provide power on Mars, the goal of NASA and the Elon Musk’s of the world. “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,” again from Jim Reuter.