Rolls-Royce Teases A Nuclear Reactor That Could Power A NASA Moonbase
Rolls-Royce, a company well known for its luxury vehicles, teased a nuclear reactor on its Twitter account that could power a moonbase, or space travel to Mars and beyond. The company also announced its partnership with the UK Space Agency for a study to look into nuclear power for space exploration.
While the race to the moon and beyond has become crowded, space agencies and private companies are looking at ways to power future spacecraft and moonbases. NASA and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently announced its partnership in developing a new nuclear thermal rocket engine to be used for space travel. As companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin are making headlines with advancements in space technology, Rolls-Royce is making it known that it is in the space exploration business as well.
The company posted a picture of its own Micro-Reactor on its Twitter account recently. The self-contained and power-dense solution is aimed at being used either as a means for space exploration of a planetary surface or for power and propulsion of a spacecraft.
Rolls-Royce stated in the tweet, “A Rolls-Royce Micro-Reactor is designed to use an inherently safe and extremely robust fuel form. Each uranium particle is encapsulated in multiple protective layers that acts as a containment system, allowing it to withstand extreme conditions.”
Jake Thompson, Head of Innovation Products and Services at Rolls-Royce, stated, “We’re also using our nuclear expertise to design small reactors that will power bases on the moon or Mars, providing reliable and clean power for astronauts at these destinations. “
Rolls-Royce is not stopping at moonbases, however. It has entered into a partnership with the UK Space Agency to study how nuclear power can be utilized for other aspects of space exploration.
Science Minister Amanda Solloway remarked, “Nuclear power presents transformative possibilities for space exploration and this innovative study with Rolls-Royce could help to propel our next generation of astronauts into space faster and for longer, significantly increasing our knowledge of our universe.”
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