June 21– NASA announced the winning bids for a concept design award on behalf of nuclear fission energy systems that will reside on the surface of the moon. Winning bids for this award were submitted by Lockheed Martin, Westinghouse and IX (a joint venture from Intuitive Machines and X-energy).
Nuclear plants on the moon
In case you missed it, NASA plans to place nuclear power plants on the moon by 2030. To accomplish this feat, the space agency is partnering with the US Department of Energy and other big-name organizations.
Reactors will “help sustain future missions on the moon, Mars and beyond,” says NASA. Large quantities of energy are key in future space exploration.
In addition to nuclear plant development, the work completed on behalf of this contract could also have applications for propulsion systems that can assist long-range space crafts in deep space exploration.
Nuclear plant safety concerns
The idea of a nuclear reactor on the moon may come across as unusual or dangerous. According to Andrew Crabtree, founder the Get Into Nuclear employment agency, many factors were weighed in NASA’s decision.
“…the issue of whether it’s safe to use nuclear power in space is not one of them…Nuclear energy has been used in space numerous times before,” and persons concerned with pollution or cleanliness of outer space should rest easy.
“…almost every single space mission you’ve ever heard of has used radioisotope thermoelectric generators, which have Plutonium-238 as their electricity source,” he says.
The future of energy acquisition
Despite assurances, the question of whether or not to place a nuclear power plant on the moon continues to disturb at least a few energy experts, business professionals and citizens alike.
“With the rapidly falling cost of truly clean power from the sun, wind, and small-scale hydro, plus the growing efficiencies we’ve achieved through conservation, there is no reason to go through a lengthy, expensive, and fraught process,” says Shel Horowitz, a profitability and marketing consultant for green businesses.
“When, not if, something goes wrong, how will we fix the problem, especially if it’s an urgent one?” asked CEO of Melink Corp., Steve Melink. Instead, he recommended that NASA use solar photovolatics as a pragmatic solution to energy woes.
For more information about potential nuclear energy plant development on the moon, visit CNBC. Lastly, to receive cutting-edge cyber security news, exclusive interviews, expert analyses and security resources, please sign up for the CyberTalk.org newsletter.