Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Nuclear Reactor on the Moon?

This story was made public about a month ago, but hey, better late than never:

NASA engineers are exploring the possibility of nuclear fission to provide the necessary power and taking initial steps toward a non-nuclear technology demonstration of this type of system.

A fission surface power system on the moon has the potential to generate a steady 40 kilowatts of electric power, enough for about eight houses on Earth. It works by splitting uranium atoms in a reactor to generate heat that then is converted into electric power. The fission surface power system can produce large amounts of power in harsh environments, like those on the surface of the moon or Mars, because it does not rely on sunlight...
Nuclear energy is used to power submarines, used to power millions of homes and businesses, and used to power rockets going to other planets, to name a few. It looks like there's not one thing nuclear energy can't power.

Picture of the proposed fission surface power system.

3 comments:

Brian Mays said...

No way! Bad idea! We should be encouraging renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

Never mind that there is no wind up there and there is no sunlight on the dark side of the moon.

Actually ... there is no dark side of the moon, really. Matter of fact, it's all dark. The only thing that makes it look alight, is the sun. ;-)

OmegaPaladin said...

I'm still waiting for my nuclear car. Not a plug-in hybrid with batteries like my laptop, but a nuclear reactor and turbogenerator under the hood. Gasoline? We don't need now stinkin' gasoline!

Robert Synnott said...

There have even been full nuclear reactors (as opposed to RTGs) in space before; the Soviet RORSAT (US/A) spy satellites. The NASA JIMO Jupiter probe was also going to carry a reactor, but was sadly cancelled a few years back due to budget cuts.