Russia and China Plan to Establish a Nuclear Power Plant on the Moon

Written by Henrik Rothen

Mar.06 - 2024 5:39 PM CET

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Photo: Wiki Commons
Photo: Wiki Commons
Russia and China Plan to Establish a Nuclear Power Plant on the Moon.

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Yuri Borisov, the head of Russia's space agency Roscosmos, confirmed plans for a joint venture with China to establish a nuclear power plant on the moon.

"We are seriously considering the project," Borisov stated, according to Reuters, highlighting a significant step forward in lunar exploration.

A Power Plant for Future Settlements

The envisioned nuclear power plant on the moon is seen as a critical component for the possibility of future lunar settlements. Borisov explained that solar panels alone would not suffice for the energy needs of such an ambitious project.

"This is a very serious challenge. It should be done in automatic mode, without human presence," he emphasized.

The Timeline for Launch

Borisov, who previously served as Russia's Deputy Minister of Defense, revealed that Russia and China have already developed a "moon program," with Moscow contributing its expertise in "nuclear energy."

The construction of the nuclear power plant, along with plans for a nuclear-powered cargo spacecraft, is tentatively scheduled to begin between 2033 and 2035.

However, the cooling of the nuclear reactor remains a technical issue yet to be resolved.

A Vision of Space Tugboats and Beyond

"We are genuinely working on a space tugboat. This enormous, cyclopean structure could, thanks to a nuclear reactor and a powerful turbine, transport large loads from one orbit to another, collect space debris, and be involved in many other programs," Borisov shared, outlining the ambitious scope of the project.

Setbacks and Future Aspirations

Despite recent setbacks, including the failure of the Luna-25 spacecraft, which lost control and crashed into the moon, Russia remains committed to its lunar ambitions. This was Russia's first moon mission in 47 years, and despite the mishap, plans for further missions and potential joint crewed missions with China, including a moon base, are in the pipeline.

International Concerns and Goals

The announcement comes amid concerns, with the United States warning that Russia plans to place nuclear weapons in space. Meanwhile, China aims to have its first astronaut walk on the moon before 2030, setting the stage for a new era of lunar exploration and international space collaboration.

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