Space agency wins $15 million contracts for three preliminary nuclear reactor projects
The problem with setting up a lunar base is that sending equipment to the surface of the moon is very expensive. Shipping costs are estimated at $100,000 per 0.45 kg.
The cargoes must also withstand 14 days of continuous heat, when the temperature outside the shade reaches 120 ° C, as well as 14 nights when it drops to -130 ° C.
In such a case, the most practical option is a very compact, lightweight power source that uses high-energy fuel. In other words, nuclear energy.
The Artemis program requires a modular, scalable nuclear system that can last up to ten years.
NASA along with the National LaboratoryThe US Department of Energy in Idaho has awarded contracts to Lockheed Martin, Westinghouse and IX, as well as their partner companies. They should develop the initial designs for lunar reactors. The contracts are valid for 12 months.
The goal of Phase 1 contracts is to getinformation that will serve as the basis for the construction of industrial reactors for the Moon and Mars. In addition, the technology is being used to improve the design of nuclear missiles that are going to be used in circumlunar and deep space.
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