• AutoTL;DR@lemmings.worldB
    5 months ago

    This is the best summary I could come up with:

    NASA is wrapping up the design phase of a project to develop concepts for a small, electricity-generating nuclear fission reactor for use on the moon.

    The Fission Surface Power Project aims to develop safe, clean and reliable energy sources on the moon, where each nighttime lasts around 14.5 Earth days.

    NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy announced contracts to three companies — Lockheed Martin, Westinghouse and IX (a joint venture of Intuitive Machines and X-Energy) — for the initial phase back in 2022.

    The trio were tasked with submitting an initial design for a reactor and subsystems, estimated costs and a development schedule that could pave the way for powering a sustained human presence on the lunar surface for at least 10 years.

    “The lunar night is challenging from a technical perspective, so having a source of power such as this nuclear reactor, which operates independent of the sun, is an enabling option for long-term exploration and science efforts on the moon,” Trudy Kortes, program director for technology demonstration missions within NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, said in a Jan. 31 statement.

    “We’re getting a lot of information from the three partners,” said Lindsay Kaldon, Fission Surface Power project manager at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.

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