Rolls Royce has received a funding boost from the U.K. Space Agency to continue its research into creating a small nuclear-powered reactor that could provide long-term energy to the Lunar Base. The company hopes to deliver a demonstration model for a modular micro-reactor to the moon by 2029. The project, which received a previous $303,495 (£249,000) in funding in 2022, aims to develop technology that will provide power for human habitation and work on the moon.
The Derby-based company has been awarded £2.9 million to research how nuclear power could be used to support future moon bases. The research will focus on generating, transferring, and converting heat into USA Lee energy. The micro-reactor will be adapted to function in the lunar environment, allowing for greater versatility in missions and less reliance on solar power.
Rolls-Royce has partnered with the University of Oxford, University of Bangor, University of Brighton, and the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) & nuclear AMRC to assist its scientists & engineers. The project is expected to create skilled jobs & boost the UK’s space industry.
The UK Space Agency aims to establish a new power source to support systems for communications, life support, and scientific experiments on the moon. The project could also lay the groundwork for powering a continuous human presence on the moon. The funding is part of a wider effort to create jobs & generate investment in the UK’s space technology sector.
George Freeman, Minister of State at the Department of Science, Innovation, & Technology, said that partnerships between the U.K. The Space Agency, British Industry, & the Government were vital in supporting ambitious space exploration missions & growing the UK’s nuclear science & space engineering skills bases.
Abi Clayton, director of future programs for Rolls Royce, expressed excitement at the new funding, saying that it would bring the micro-reactor closer to reality & bring immense benefits for space and earth.