The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory are teaming up and planning to put a nuclear reactor on the moon. 

They are inviting the public to send in proposals for the nuclear reactor. Proposals must be submitted by February 19, 2022. Guidelines have also been provided for the nuclear reactor, including its ideal weight, size, and type. 

NASA is currently gearing up for its Artemis Program, whose goal is to bring humans back to the moon and then to Mars for the first time in history. 

NASA Planning to Put a Nuclear Reactor on the Moon

NASA and the Idaho National Laboratory of the Department of Energy are working together and planning to put a nuclear reactor on the moon within the next 10 years. 

According to a statement posted on the website of the Idaho National Laboratory, they are "seeking proposals from nuclear and space industry leaders to develop innovative technologies for a fission surface power (FSP) system for lunar power applications."

Proposals for the nuclear reactor are due on February 19, 2022. The reactor is part of NASA's attempt to turn the moon "into an extraterrestrial base for human space exploration, including future manned missions to Mars," per a report by Space

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Nuclear Reactor Proposal Guidelines

According to the report by Space, those interested in submitting proposals have to follow certain guidelines.  

Any proposed nuclear reactors should be no more than 13,200 pounds in weight and must be a uranium-powered fission reactor. Its size must also allow the reactor to fit inside a rocket that is 12 feet long and 18 feet wide. 

The plan is for the nuclear reactor to be assembled here on Earth before it is launched to the moon, where it is expected to provide 40 kilowatts of power for the next decade. 

The nuclear reactor, according to Space, must also have temperature controls that can keep it cool as the temperature on the moon can reach 260 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. 

NASA's Artemis Program

NASA is gearing up for its Artemis Program, whose main goal is to bring humans back to the moon before making a historic landing on Mars. 

However, certain factors caused NASA to move its moon landing goal from 2024 to 2025 at the earliest. The change in the goal has been caused by delays due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as well as the lawsuit filed by Blue Origin against NASA. 

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin filed a lawsuit against NASA after the latter decided to award its moon lander contract to Elon Musk's SpaceX only. NASA had been expected to pick two out of the three companies who were vying for the moon lander contract. 

Blue Origin lost the lawsuit on Nov. 4. 

Read Also: Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos Contest NASA's Moon Contract With SpaceX

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Written by Isabella James

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