British industrial group Rolls-Royce announced today that it has received funding of £2.9m (€3.3m) from British Space Agency to develop small nuclear reactors for future bases in Moon.

“Rolls-Royce scientists and engineers are working on the microreactor program to develop a technology that will provide the energy necessary for humans to live and work on the Moon,” the company said in a statement.

The group predicts that a first reactor, which will be about the size of a car, will be ready to be sent to the Moon by 2029.

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About 50 years after the last mission of the Apollo program, the return of humans to the Moon is becoming concrete: NASA announced in early March that the Artemis 2 space mission will bring astronauts around the Earth’s satellite in November 2024.

The Artemis 3 mission, within the framework of which astronauts will land on the lunar surface, is officially planned for 2025. NASA and the Axiom Space company presented yesterday, Wednesday, in Houston, Texas, the new space suit that these astronauts will wear.

“Nuclear power has the potential to significantly increase the duration of future missions to the Moon, as well as their scientific value,” assured Rolls-Royce, which will work with British universities, including Oxford.

The funding, announced today, is in addition to the £249,000 contributed in 2022 by the government-run UK Space Agency. The new sum will allow the company to carry out a first demonstration of a lunar modular nuclear reactor.

Rolls-Royce is also developing small modular reactors to generate electricity on land, mainly as part of the UK’s plans to speed up the construction of new nuclear power stations on its territory.

NASA also announced in January a partnership with the Pentagon to develop a nuclear-powered rocket intended to send humans to Mars.