China's New Space Reactor 'Will Be 100 Times More Powerful Than a Similar Device NASA Plans To Put on the Surface of the Moon by 2030'

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The how-about-that dept was posted by msmash.

According to researchers involved in the project, China is developing a powerful nuclear reactor for its moon and Mars missions. The reactor is 100 times more powerful than a device that will be put on the moon. The project was funded by the central government. The South China Morning Post reported this week that the engineering design of a prototype machine was completed recently and some critical components have been built.

This is an ambitious project that has never been done before in China. The only publicly known nuclear device it has sent into space is a tiny radioactive battery on Yutu 2, the first rover to land on the far side of the moon in 2019. During long lunar nights, the device could only generate a few watt of heat. Chinese researchers say that chemical fuel and solar panels won't be enough to meet the demands of human space exploration, which is expected to expand significantly with human settlements on the moon or Mars on the agenda. Nuclear power is the best solution. Some nations have ambitious plans. One researcher with the Chinese Academy of Sciences who asked not to be named as they were not authorized to speak to the media said that China cannot afford to lose this race.



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