NASA intends to build a nuclear power plant on the Moon within the next decade.

The space agency and the U.S. Department of Energy are seeking proposals for creating a uranium-powered nuclear reactor that can fit inside a 12-foot-long by 18-foot-wide rocket and be launched to the lunar surface, Live Science reported.

According to a statement released on Nov. 19 by the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL), the lab is collaborating with NASA to put a “durable, high-power, sun-independent” fission reactor on the Moon within the next 10 years.

The two organizations are currently seeking ideas from outside partners to help them get this ambitious initiative off the ground, with a deadline of Feb. 19, 2022.

Some basic guidelines also follow the call for proposals.

The goal is to assemble the reactor on Earth and launch it to the Moon inside a rocket. Once it arrives, it will need to continually provide 40 kilowatts of electric power for at least ten years. The reactor must also include temperature controls so that it does not meltdown. However, this could be difficult because the Moon can become incredibly hot during the lunar day.

If the reactor is successful, Moon missions might be much easier with electricity provided to a lunar base for astronauts.

Jim Reuter, the associate administrator for Nasa’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C., explained: “Plentiful energy will be key to future space exploration.

“I expect fission surface power systems to greatly benefit our plans for power architectures for the Moon and Mars and even drive innovation for uses here on Earth.”

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