Rolls-Royce gets funding to build a nuclear reactor for a moon base.
it sounds like a James Bond movie, but is actually part of a very real project to see humans live and work on the lunar surface.
The UK Space Agency has given Rolls-Royce a new £2.9m to build the reactor after funding a £249,000 study last year.
Engineers and scientists at the British company are working on plans for a microreactor that would look at how nuclear power could one day support a full-time moon base.
It is hoped that it will provide enough power for communications, life support and experiments.
Rolls-Royce aims to have the reactor ready by 2029. It is working with universities including Oxford, Bangor, Sheffield and Brighton to make this happen.
Science Minister George Freeman said: “Space exploration is the ultimate laboratory for many of the transformative technologies we need here on Earth: from materials to robotics, nutrition, cleantech and more.”
He said the project was another sign that the UK was a “major force in cutting-edge science”.
The UK’s space industry is worth £16bn, the government says.
Only California has built more satellites than the UKand Optimism remains that they will launch from British soil soonalthough Attempts to do so in Newquay earlier this year failed.
Dr Paul Bate, chief executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “This innovative research by Rolls-Royce could lay the foundations for a sustained human presence on the Moon while strengthening the wider UK space sector, creating jobs and generating more invest”
The work on the lunar base comes as humans prepare to return to the moon for the first time in more than 50 years.
NASA’s Artemis missions Up and running in November and The goal is to return astronauts, including the first woman, to Earth by the end of 2025.