NASA selects three companies to develop nuclear power generators for use on the moon

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NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy have selected three companies, Lockheed Martin, Westinghouse and IX, and each gave $5 million to develop small nuclear power generators that can be used on the moon and even Mars in the future. NASA has been developing related technology for at least 14 years, and now it is ready to enter the practical stage.

These mini nuclear power generators can stably generate about 40KW of output, which is enough for about 80 ordinary Taiwanese households, and can basically run on the moon for about 10 years without maintenance. All three teams need to combine capabilities in space components and nuclear energy, so Lockheed Martin will team up with nuclear energy component supplier BWXT and cryogenic component manufacturer; Westinghouse, itself a nuclear power expert, will team up with Aerojet Rocketdyne ; and the relatively unknown IX (a combination of two startups, Intuitive Machines and X-Energy), found Maxar and Boeing to cooperate. All three teams have 12 months to come up with full product plans, and NASA hopes to have field tests on the lunar surface by 2030.

After not touching nuclear energy for a long time, the United States has also carefully carried out research on the application of nuclear energy as power in space in recent years. In addition to reflecting the optimistic attitude towards civil space development and more people going to space in recent years, the use of nuclear energy in the space environment is less likely to arouse opposition from people on Earth.

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