The U.K. Space Agency has decided to continue funding a project by Rolls-Royce to create a small nuclear-powered reactor that could serve as a long-term energy source for lunar bases.
The new boost to Rolls-Royce’s research pot follows a previous $303,495 (£249,000) study funded by the U.K. Space Agency in 2022. With the new funds, the company hopes to have a demonstration model for a modular micro-reactor ready to deliver to the moon by 2029.
In a March 17 press release (opens in new tab) , Rolls-Royce and the U.K. Space Agency state that the micro-reactor program will help to "develop technology that will provide power needed for humans to live and work on the moon."
The continuing research will focus on three critical aspects of the micro-reactor: generating heat, transferring that heat and converting that heat into usable energy.
"This innovative research by Rolls-Royce could lay the groundwork for powering continuous human presence on the moon," Paul Bate, chief executive of the U.K. Space Agency, said in the press release.