Scientists and engineers at Rolls-Royce are working on the Micro-Reactor programme to develop technology that will provide power needed for humans to live and work on the Moon. All space missions depend on a power source, to support systems for communications, life-support and science experiments. Nuclear power has the potential to dramatically increase the duration of future Lunar missions and their scientific value.
The UK Space Agency has announced £2.9 million of new funding for the project which will deliver an initial demonstration of a UK lunar modular nuclear reactor. This follows a £249,000 study funded by the UK Space Agency in 2022.
Minister of State at the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology, George Freeman, said:
Space exploration is the ultimate laboratory for so many of the transformational technologies we need on Earth: from materials to robotics, nutrition, cleantech and much more.
As we prepare to see humans return to the Moon for the first time in more than 50 years, we are backing exciting research like this lunar modular reactor with Rolls-Royce to pioneer new power sources for a lunar base.
Partnerships like this, between British industry, the UK Space Agency and government are helping to create jobs across our £16 billion SpaceTech sector and help ensure the UK continues to be a major force in frontier science.