NASA wants to put a nuclear power plant on the moon by 2030

NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy are seeking to put a nuclear reactor on the moon to generate the energy needed for space exploration.

According to a press release from the Idaho National Labs, the goal is to “establish a durable, high-power, sun-independent power source for NASA missions on the moon by the end of the decade, as well as potential subsequent missions.”

According to NASA’s website:

Astronauts could take advantage of a reliable power supply to explore both the Moon and Mars. The system will need to be lightweight and capable of running regardless of its location, the weather, or available sunlight and other natural resources.

A small, lightweight fission surface power system could provide up to 10 kilowatts of electrical power – enough to run several average households – continuously for at least 10 years. Four 10-kilowatt units could provide enough juice to power robust operations on the Moon and Mars.

It’s interesting to note that Idaho Labs specifically wanted an energy source that was “sun-independent.” This suggests that NASA and the Department of Energy intuitively understand the importance of having reliable energy in space, and its importance to the future of space exploration.

Too bad the current Secretary of Energy doesn’t seem to understand the importance of reliable energy back here on Earth.