Why NASA wants to put a nuclear power plant on the moon

  • NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy will seek proposals from industry to build nuclear power plants on the moon and Mars to support its long-term exploration plans.
  • The goal is to have a flight system, lander and reactor in place by 2026.
  • The facility will be fully manufactured and assembled on Earth, and tested for safety.
  • The nuclear power plants will provide enough electrical power to establish an outpost on the moon or Mars.

Illustration of a nuclear fission power system concept on the Moon.

© Provided by CNBC
Illustration of a nuclear fission power system concept on the Moon.

NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy will seek proposals from industry to build a nuclear power plant on the moon and Mars to support its long-term exploration plans. The proposal is for a fission surface power system, and the goal is to have a flight system, lander and reactor in place by 2026.


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Anthony Calomino, NASA’s nuclear

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How, When And Where You Can See Mars, Jupiter, Saturn And A Crescent Moon With Your Naked Eyes

There are few more exquisite sights in all of nature than a slim crescent Moon glistening in twilight. 

Watching our barely-there natural satellite in space sink towards the horizon is a monthly highlight that happens next week, but this time it’s going to be something special. 

MORE FROM FORBESWhat Are Those Three Bright ‘Stars’ Visible At Dusk Each Night? This Is What You’re Seeing

That’s because in the southwestern sky just after sunset, Jupiter and Saturn will also be coming out to play. While you’re delighting at that triumvirate, look southeast and you’ll find Mars. 

Don’t take these planets for granted for soon enough they’ll all be gone from the night sky for many, many months. 

Here’s exactly when and where

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These Microbes May Help Future Martians and Moon People Mine Metals

Microbes may be the friends of future colonists living off the land on the moon, Mars or elsewhere in the solar system and aiming to establish self-sufficient homes.

Space colonists, like people on Earth, will need what are known as rare earth elements, which are critical to modern technologies. These 17 elements, with daunting names like yttrium, lanthanum, neodymium and gadolinium, are sparsely distributed in the Earth’s crust. Without the rare earths, we wouldn’t have certain lasers, metallic alloys and powerful magnets that are used in cellphones and electric cars.

But mining them on Earth today is an arduous process. It requires crushing tons of ore and then extracting smidgens of these metals using chemicals that leave behind rivers of toxic waste water.

Experiments conducted aboard the International Space Station show that a potentially cleaner, more efficient method could work on other worlds: let bacteria do the messy work of

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The Only Photo of Neil Armstrong on the Moon and Buzz Aldrin’s Selfie

Buzz Aldrin/Christie’s The only photograph of Neil Armstrong on the Moon, July 16-24, 1969

Space fans are in for an early holiday treat, as they could become the new owners of a piece of NASA history.

Between Nov. 6 and 20, the U.S. agency is teaming up with Christie’s to auction off 2,400 rare NASA photos as part of the British auction house’s “Voyage To Another World: The Victor Martin-Malburet Photograph Collection,” according to a press release.

Compiled over 15 years by Martin-Malburet, the photographs will showcase “the artistic heritage of the golden age of space exploration when NASA, and its astronaut-photographers, captured the first forays into space and onto the surface of another world,” the release stated.

Christie’s described the images as the “most comprehensive private collection of NASA photographs ever presented at auction,” and said they are estimated to range in price from £800 to £30,000 ($1056.82 to

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China Set to Retrieve First Moon Rocks in 40 Years

Later this month, a Chinese spacecraft will travel to the Moon to scoop up lunar rocks for the first time in more than 40 years. The mission, named Chang’e-5, is the latest in a series of increasingly complex trips to the lunar surface led by the China National Space Administration (CNSA), following its first touchdown of a craft, Chang’e-4, on the Moon’s far side last year.

“To take it to the next level and return samples from the Moon is a significant technological capability,” says Carolyn van der Bogert, a planetary geologist at the University of Münster, Germany.

The craft is expected to take off on 24 November from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island. Its original launch, planned for 2017, was delayed because of an engine failure in China’s Long March 5 launch rocket.

Chang’e-5’s mission is to collect dust and debris from a previously unexplored region

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NASA may want to send bacteria to the Moon and Mars after all

  • Research from the International Space Station reveals the benefits of using bacteria to extract minerals from material found on the Moon and Mars.
  • One specific bacteria is capable of extracting rare earth elements from volcanic rock under multiple gravity conditions.
  • NASA has historically avoided contaminating its mission with bacteria, but it turns out they may be helpful.

NASA has always done its best to ensure that its missions are as sterile as possible. Sending bacteria from Earth into space is a bad idea for a number of reasons, but new research suggests that certain bacteria may be useful. The research, which was published in Nature Communications, reveals that Earthly bacteria could help extract minerals from the material that covers the surfaces of the Moon and Mars.

a rocky beach: moon bacteria

© Provided by BGR
moon bacteria

The research, which is based on experiments performed on the International Space Station, revealed that one specific

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Radiation Might Make Jupiter’s Salty, Icy Moon Europa Glow | Smart News

Jupiter sits in the hole of a giant, doughnut-shaped magnetic field swirling with charged particles that create intense radiation belts. The planet’s many moons are caught in the waves of radiation—and that might even make one of them glow, according to new research published on November 9 in the journal Nature Astronomy.

Researchers mimicked the cold, salty surface of Jupiter’s fourth-largest moon, Europa, using ice. When they exposed their frozen faux-Europa sample to radiation, it lit up, reports Science News’ Maria Temming.

Our moon appears bright in the night sky because it’s hit by sunlight, which it reflects down to Earth. The side without sunlight is dark. Europa, which is just a bit smaller than Earth’s moon, also has a sunlit side. But the other side might glow in the dark because of Jupiter’s radiation.

Scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory figured this out because they created a device

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Bacteria from Earth could be used to mine on the moon or Mars

Microorganisms are already used on Earth to mine economically important elements from rocks, including rare earth elements, used in mobile phones and electronics.

Scientists in the United Kingdom spent 10 years developing matchbox-size biomining reactors for the experiment. Eighteen of the devices were transported to the ISS on board a SpaceX rocket in July 2019. Small pieces of basalt, similar to much of the material on the surface of the moon and Mars, were loaded into the devices and soaked in bacterial solution.

The three-week experiment assessed the potential of three species of bacteria to extract rare earth elements from the basalt. Only one, Sphingomonas desiccabilis, was able to leach rare earth elements from basalt at all three different gravity conditions — microgravity (sometimes called zero gravity), Mars-like gravity and under standard conditions on Earth.

The findings of the study, which published in the journal Nature Communications on Tuesday, show … Read More

NASA is partnering with 17 US space companies, including Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, to develop new tech ‘for the moon and beyond’

Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos are posing for a picture: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos. John Locher/AP and Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images

© John Locher/AP and Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos. John Locher/AP and Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images

  • Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, and startup Rocket Lab are among 17 companies partnering with NASA to develop new technologies for space missions to “the moon and beyond.”
  • NASA announced 20 partnerships total on Monday, all of which are unfunded. The chosen space companies will gain access to NASA’s testing facilities and expertise.
  • “Space technology development doesn’t happen in a vacuum,” Jim Reuter, the associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, said.
  • The space industry is booming, and expected to grow by more than $1 trillion in the next 10 years.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

NASA has picked 17 US companies, including Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, to develop new tech for space missions,

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NASA says Jupiter’s funky moon Europa may glow in the dark

This artist’s illustration shows what Europa’s nightside glow might look like.


If you managed to get to Jupiter and then looked at the dark side of its moon Europa, you might be blown away by an ethereal glimmer. The fascinating icy moon may sport a glow-in-the-dark nightside triggered by blasting radiation. 

Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have figured out what Europa’s glow might look like and how it ties into the composition of the moon’s ice. The team published a paper on the potential glow in the journal Nature Astronomy on Monday.  

Here on Earth, we’re used to seeing our moon shining back at us as sunlight reflects off its surface. That’s not how Europa’s special gleam would work. Europa’s ice is likely mixed with salts (which we know as Epsom salt and

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