Puttin' on the Ritz
British luxury carmaker Rolls-Royce just got the go-ahead from the UK government to build a nuclear reactor for a future Moon base.
In a press release announcing the decision, the UK Space Agency (UKSA) officially affirmed that Rolls-Royce has been selected as its manufacturer of choice to build a prototypical nuclear reactor for a potential lunar base.
Rolls' scientists and engineers are developing a research program for what they're calling a "Micro-Reactor" — which is, just like it sounds, a miniature "plug-and-play" reactor, as described by the US Department of Energy — that will ultimately provide power for a lunar base. Per the statement:
"The UK Space Agency has announced £2.9 million of new funding for the project" — the equivalent of roughly $3.5 million USD — "which will deliver an initial demonstration of a UK lunar modular nuclear reactor."
As with other non-American governments, the British minister of state in the UK's Department of Science, Innovation and Technology came fairly close in the press release to admitting that this investment is in response to NASA's forthcoming Artemis lunar missions, the third of which "humans return to the Moon for the first time in more than 50 years."
Interestingly enough, this is the second time this week that Rolls was tapped by the British to build a nuclear reactor; the other came in the form of a trilateral agreement between the UK, the US and Australia.
As Naval News reported earlier in the week, the British carmaker's submarine division that apparently has supplied the country with many of its naval needs for more than half a century will be developing nuclear reactors for underwater vessels currently being developed by the international consortium.
All that said? It's pretty tony for the British to be using the makers of some of the world's classiest cars to potentially power a lunar base — because who said Moon living can't be done in style?
More on future lunar colonies: MIT Students Built a Terrifying Mix-and-Match Spider Robot to Build Lunar Colonies