According to reports, the American space agency will be partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy’s top nuclear research facility in Idaho to develop plans to build a nuclear reactor that it can send up to the Moon by the end of the decade. The team is now inviting submissions for ideas on how to create this power plant, and NASA says that the plans should include everything from a uranium-fueled reactor core and a way to harness that into usable energy to a thermal management system and a distribution system that can provide no less than 40kW of electric power for at least 10 years.
“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,” said the Fission Surface Power Project’s lead Sebastian Corbisiero. “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,” added Jim Reuter, an associate administrator at NASA.
In other related news, NASA and SpaceX are going to crash a satellite directly into a binary asteroid later this week.