UK Developed Nuclear Micro-Reactors Pivotal in Colonisation of the Moon

05 September 2023

Benefitting from £1.6 million of UK Space Agency funding, scientists at Bangor University are working on the development of nuclear fuel cells for future deep space missions.

This pioneering project relies on the latest innovations in additive manufacturing, rather than less effective conventional techniques, using heat-resistant metallic and ceramic zirconium materials. As well as powering spacecraft propulsion systems, the resulting micro-reactors will act as a stable source for the generation of electricity in order to sustain communities located on the surfaces of other planets.

As Professor Simon Middleburgh of Bangor University explains; “Once a spacecraft travels beyond our planet, it can no longer rely on the Sun for energy. Nuclear power is the only way we currently have to provide the power for that length of space travel.”

The UK Space Agency's CEO, Dr Paul Bate, stated; “The concept of exploring deeper into space - whether that means retuning to the lunar surface through the Artemis programme, or working out how we could travel to, and survive on, Mars and beyond - is a global ambition that has been growing since humanity’s first forays into space in the 1950s.”

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