As part of the Artemis program led by NASA, astronauts are going back to the lunar environment as early as 2024, with a vision of eventually instituting a long-term human existence on the moon, a place that's hasn't been seen in person since the early 1970s.

As specified in a ScienceAlert report, the Moon is waiting, after tens of years in which no human being set foot on the lunar surface, humans are returning quite soon.

To stay and work on the Moon, though, astronauts will need power, and they need ample amounts of it, and there is no power grid on the moon.

Whereas any number of artistic solutions might be able to help solve that issue, for years, NASA has seen  

nuclear fission as the most useful power choice for astronaut colonies in the future, and now the American space agency is taking the next step to make a nuclear reactor a reality on the Moon.

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Science Times - NASA Taking the Next Step to Make Nuclear Reactor a Reality Within the Next 10 Years; Initiative is Part of the Space Agency's Artemis Program
(Photo: NASA/Dennis Davidson on Wikimedia Commons)
Moon colony with rover

To Land on the Moon in 10 Years

According to the associate administrator for NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate or STMD Jim Reuter, an ample amount of energy will be "key to future space exploration."

After years of investigating the probabilities for lunar nuclear fission underneath its previous Kilopower project, NASA is leading a new drive, specifically in fission surface power, as detailed in the NASA website, research that works in concurrence with the United States Department of Energy.

The two organizations are currently calling American industry alliances to submit design ideas for nuclear fission power systems that could run on the surface of the Moon and be ready for takeoff and present their probability on the Moon within the next ten years.

According to the space agency, a small, lightweight fission system that can operate on a lunar lander or lunar surface rover could offer up to 10 kilowatts of electrical power, which would be adequate to satisfy several average households' electricity demands.

Use of Power in Lunar Operations

In the setting of lunar operations, the use of power would be different from what households need on this planet, certainly, running life support systems, charging lunar rovers, and helping researchers to carry out experiments.

In a brief, NASA and DOE said future fission systems would eventually need to generate at least 40 kilowatts of energy, which the space agency says could power roughly 30 households for up to a decade.

At those estimated levels, there needs to be adequate energy, not only to make a sustained lunar existence possible, but one day to allow as well exploration, not to mention the colonization of the Red Planet, which is the scientific elasticity goal of the endeavors of Artemis are eventually bringing humans closer to.

In fact, according to NASA, the current study into lunar fission power systems could help inform recommended nuclear propulsion systems, as well, that one day, may enable astronauts to journey to Mars on spacecraft journeying at more rapid speeds for shorter missions.

Related information about NASA's plan is shown on Voyager's YouTube video below:


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