China Plans to Build Nuclear-Powered Moon Base Within Six Years
China plans to build its first base on the moon by 2028, ahead of landing astronauts there in subsequent years as the country steps up its challenge to NASA’s dominance in space exploration.
The lunar base will likely be powered by nuclear energy, Caixn reported. Its basic configuration will consist of a lander, hopper, orbiter and rover, all of which would be constructed by the Chang’e 6, 7 and 8 missions.
“Our astronauts will likely be able to go to the moon within 10 years,” Wu Weiran, chief designer of China’s lunar exploration program, said in an interview with state broadcaster CCTV earlier this week. Nuclear energy can address the lunar station’s long-term, high-power energy needs, he said.
China has ramped up its ambitions in space in recent years, sending probes to the moon, building its own space station and setting its sights on Mars. The plans have put it in direct competition with the US. NASA has a rover on the Red Planet and is seeking to return astronauts to the moon this decade for the first time since the Apollo program ended in the 1970s.
Both China and the US are spending billions of dollars to not just put humans on the moon, but also to access resources that could foster life on the lunar surface or send spacecraft to Mars.
In 2019, China became the first country to land a rover on the far side of the moon, and later brought back its first lunar samples. The base is intended to be the first outpost on the moon’s South Pole, an area scientists think is the best place to find water.
This explains the noise NASA has been making. The good thing that comes out of it is that no way will the US government want to let China upstage them, so I’m expecting increased budgets for space exploration.
Yeah, I was wondering why all that Cold War esque NASA rhetoric came out of the left field, this explains it lol. Hopefully the federal govt will cut NASA loose from congressional whims and let them set up a moon base quicker.
Oh shit, Space Race 2.
TBF, theres no universe in exstence where anyone is setting up a nuclear powered moonbase in 6 years.
There's gotta be oil on the moon, I can feel it.
Aerospace and whatnot indeed seems to be turning into a lucrative job market.
Dude, if this gets the us government to take its head out of its ass then this will be a god send. Somehow I don't see it happening because we are balls deep into culture war bullcrap.
That, and the not-so-subtle suggestion of militarization, the moon is about to become super important.
Or the US will realize China is in a downward spiral and is unlikely to ever land anyone on the moon.
Yeah ngl this sounds good. Space Race
This is so exciting, Gosh. Some good old competition and humanity will be the one that gains from it.
Agreed, but I think it's all just noise. It would be a massive investment.
They are right to do so. The ISS is old tech and deteriorating away. Also keep in mind it was worked by many countries space agencies. Russia being one that I think dropped out.
Great musk is gonna be rich again.
I'll Drink to That
Fuck yeah a new space race for the first base on the moon.
The Race for the Base! Nixon’s gonna love it!
Space race ! Space race ! Space race !
Turns out Space Force on Netflix was actually a documentary about future events.
Don't worry, our taxes will fund the tech and we'll definitely have a chance to be sold it privately.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't nuclear power require a lot of cooling? Which is normally achieved either water or air, neither of which are present on the moon?
Yes it does. The surface nuclear power reactor being worked on by NASA would produce 30 kW electric, and 90 kW thermal (i.e. 25% conversion efficiency).
Thermal radiators probably, so lots of surface area of basically mirrors to get the heat out.
Maybe there'd be a way to use the moon itself as a heat sink with a lot of small tubes and cooling water. The rock is too much of an insulator for that probably.
All space nuclear reactors designed to date rely on radiative cooling using giant closed loop radiators, using either a liquid metal of some kind or heat pipes that can carry the heat away from the power conversion system.
Closed loop heat transfer systems that turn turbines? Radiators?
Radiative cooling increases in efficiency with temperature. So as long as you have the materials to run it really hot, cooling is possible even if it's less efficient than convection and conduction.
The moon does supposedly have water-ice.
You would think because people assume space is "cold" that would be enough, but you have to have something that brings in the cold or dissipates the heat.
I imagine that a coolant loop with radiators placed in the cold vacuum of space would work, unless I'm misunderstanding the heat transfers involved.
How does NASA now use this to get more funding to accelerate a moon base? Can they get more money before the next budget? How will they get congress to pass more funding and how much will they need to compete with China?
I didn't know they even had a moon-capable rocket.
I'm down for a moon-base-space-race though!