Miniature nuclear reactor designed for the Moon.

Rolls-Royce has revealed plans for a miniature nuclear reactor designed for lunar outposts, showcasing a conceptual model at the UK Space Conference in Belfast. Intended to provide a reliable power source for future settlements on the Moon, particularly in perpetually shadowed regions like the southern pole, this Space Micro-Reactor addresses the challenges posed by the lack of sunlight.

NASA has identified these shadowed areas as potential locations for a lunar outpost due to the likelihood of substantial water deposits. The compact nuclear reactor, exhibited during the conference, is currently operational, with Rolls-Royce engineers actively researching methods to convert its nuclear fission reactor’s heat into usable energy.

This innovative technology offers a continuous power supply unaffected by lunar darkness, positioning it as a crucial element for sustaining human presence on the Moon. Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, lauded Rolls-Royce’s pioneering research, emphasizing its potential to establish a foundation for a permanent lunar settlement. Unlike solar panels, the mini reactor’s ability to generate a constant power source allows for strategic placement on the Moon’s polar surface.

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