China is also considering building a nuclear reactor for its missions to the Moon (and possibly also to Mars). On the contrary, he would have done big things by secretly designing a reactor that should be at least 100 times more powerful than another one that NASA has provided in recent weeks. The South China Morning Post reports in a new article that it explains that all technical details of the mission and the reactor have yet to be revealed even though the prototype has already been manufactured. Confirmation will come from two Chinese scientists who are part of the project.
The future nuclear power for the space sector?
This news shows that not only NASA scientists but also the Chinese Space Agency (and all associated Chinese space companies) are convinced that nuclear power represents the future when it comes to power supplies on the Moon and Mars. Also for vehicles orbiting the Earth). A researcher from the Chinese Academy of Sciences also explains in the South China Morning Post: Nuclear power is the most promising solution.
A nuclear device on board the Yutu 2 rover
Currently, the only nuclear-powered device, at least among the ones known to the public, that has been sent to the surface of another space object is the one on Yutu 2, the Chinese rover that landed on the far side of the Moon.
An advertisement from NASA
A few weeks ago, NASA announced the opening of a tender for the cooperation of companies already operating in the nuclear or space sector in the new project to build a new reactor, which must then be brought to the moon. This reactor should provide power for the next missions of NASA itself as well as to a potential colony, even if temporary, on our natural satellite.
Projects of Russia and the European Union
Nor does Russia appear to be out of business: in recent months it has announced a project for a spacecraft powered by a 1 megawatt nuclear reactor. This latest Russian project is expected to be launched before 2030. Using nuclear power, the spacecraft can orbit the Earth or carry out missions to the Moon.
Finally, the European Space Agency announced the Democritos project, a 200 kW nuclear space reactor. In this case, the first tests (on the ground) should take place by 2023.
Notes and insights
- China’s space program will switch to nuclear power to power future missions to the Moon and Mars | South China Morning Newspaper
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