China and the US have plans for nuclear-powered moon bases

midian182

Posts: 8,480   +104
Staff member
Forward-looking: China and the United States compete in many areas, and it appears that the moon could become another area of contention for the two superpowers. The Asian nation plans to build its first lunar base by 2028, while the White House wants to bring humans to the surface by 2025.

The South China Morning Post reports that China's moon base will likely be nuclear-powered. Its basic configuration will consist of a lander, hopper, orbiter, and rover, and be constructed by the Chang'e 6, 7, and 8 missions.

"We are now developing a new system that uses nuclear energy to address the moon station's long-term, high-power energy demands," said Wu Weiran, chief designer of China's lunar exploration program during an interview with state broadcaster CCTV earlier this week. "(We) hope our astronauts will be able to go to the moon in 10 years."

China has been challenging the US in the field of space exploration for years now. The country is building its own space station and has sent probes to the moon—it was the first to land a rover on the far side of the moon in 2019.

The base will likely be built in the moon's southern polar region. It will eventually expand into an international scientific research station, and astronauts from China, Russia, and other potential partner countries will work there occasionally, but it will be unmanned most of the time.

China's announcement comes just a couple of weeks after the White House's national science and technology council released its new National Cislunar Science and Technology Strategy. Some of the plans relate to the moon, including proposals for a permanent outpost on the south pole area.

In June, NASA and the Department of Energy selected three companies, including Lockheed Martin, to design concepts for a fission surface power system to provide nuclear power on the Moon.

In 2020, eight nations signed the US-led Artemis Accords, in which signatories agree to interoperability, peaceful exploration, deconfliction of activities, and more, with the intention of avoiding conflicts in space. Just over 20 countries have now agreed to the principles, but Russia and China are the two notable absentees.

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Uncle Al

Posts: 9,363   +8,581
One would think that solar would be the obvious choice but a great deal of the "light" comes from the reflective surface of the moon so a different approach would be necessary. Hopefully the systems to be used will be the lesser volatile like molten salt reactors and those based upon Thorium rather than Uranium .....
 

takaozo

Posts: 514   +812
Maybe the latest gen reactors don't use water anymore, or maybe they found water on the moon?
 

veLa

Posts: 1,183   +854
One would think that solar would be the obvious choice but a great deal of the "light" comes from the reflective surface of the moon so a different approach would be necessary. Hopefully the systems to be used will be the lesser volatile like molten salt reactors and those based upon Thorium rather than Uranium .....

I went through the same thought process when reading the article.
 

ScottSoapbox

Posts: 445   +809
Just do what the leader in green power California does and get reliable power from the neighboring state...

...oh right, then I guess using reliable power themselves is the only way.

Don't worry, I will sell them offsets so they can assuage their guilt.
 

dob_1

Posts: 86   +48
I thought one of the reasons for going to the poles is that there are areas on peaks that actually have permanent daylight, just as there are other areas in constant shadow where frozen water may be found. If a permanently lit area can be found, surely it is better to use solar than shipping a nuclear unit up to the moon!
 

mbk34

Posts: 422   +327
Do they have a stated aim for these bases? Is it to create rocket fuel from water ice so you don't have to lift all the fuel into space? moon based telescopes? helium 3 mining?
 

TheRealSCDC

Posts: 494   +853
I want to move to the moon. At least they will be able to power their grid. Meanwhile we will have rolling blackouts because not enough power. Will probably have to have mandatory evening and nighttime blackouts to allow people to charge their cars. Nuclear is still king.
 

p51d007

Posts: 3,428   +3,109
Don't do it! Didn't you ever see the tv show "Space 1999"? All the spent fuel laying around set off a chain reaction that blew the moon out of Earth orbit. LOL
 

erickmendes

Posts: 708   +334
Nuclear power on moon surface with China and USA... That's recipe for some interesting fireworks... Just hope the moon don't go off orbit or some doomsday event like that happen when this turn into nuclear space warfare or classic state-sponsored sabotage.