China is building mysterious nuclear power plants for the moon and Mars

However, putting a nuclear reactor into space also involves great risks.

China is developing a powerful nuclear reactor for its moon and Mars missions. He should one megawatt of continuous electrical power deliver and is therefore many times more powerful than comparable projects of the NASA and THIS.

The Chinese project has already been 2019 Launched with central government funding such as the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported. Technical details and start date were not disclosed. However, two scientists who are involved in the project confirmed the plans to the SCMP. So the technical design was for one Prototypes already finalized. The construction of some components for it has already started.

Big challenge

The project is a major technical challenge. The only known radioactive device China ever put into space was a radionuclide battery as part of the moon rover’s mission Jadehase 2 (Yutu 2).

Once more extensive inhabited settlements become a reality on the moon or Mars, other energy sources such as chemical fuels or solar will no longer suffice. “Nuclear power is the most hopeful solution. Other nations have started ambitious projects. China cannot afford to lose this race, ”a researcher told the Chinese Academy of Sciences to the SCMP, which did not want to be named.

Risks

China’s efforts to create nuclear energy sources for space are extreme shrouded in mystery. One reason for this is that there are no regulations or laws about how to react in the event of an accident, writes the SCMP.

One of the greatest risks in nuclear power plants for space missions it is important to bring the radioactive material safely into space. A launch incident that damages or even destroys the spaceship would have potentially catastrophic consequences for Earth.

Comparable projects

The US space agency wants by 2030 a reactor with 40 Kilowatt erect on the moon. Only recently is a corresponding one Tender started. The ESA wants to participate in the project Democrats a nuclear power plant with a capacity of 200 Kilowatt to develop. Russia has even announced before 2030 a spaceship with HAVEto send a nuclear reactor with one megawatt into space.

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