Russia claims it’s planning to put a reactor on the Moon with China

Image by Paramanu Sarkar/CC BY-SA 4.0 Deed
Russia’s space agency Roscosmos has again floated the idea of putting a nuclear reactor on the Moon.

Its director general Yuri Borisov said it could be attempted between 2033 and 2035, and could be done in cooperation with China.

The point would be to provide power for a future lunar base, according to Russian state news agency, TASS.

Borisov claimed planning was already underway through a joint lunar programme with Beijing.

He said the mission would be automated, and that the necessary technology would soon be available.

Russia’s space agencies have discussed installing a reactor on the Moon for years.

Russia’s Academy of Cosmonautics made a similar claim in 2016, also citing 2035 as the potential date.

In 2022, Wu Weiren, chief designer of the Chinese lunar exploration programme, told state broadcaster CCTV that China was “developing a new system that uses nuclear energy to address the moon station’s long-term, high-power energy demands”.

In March 2021, Roscosmos and the China National Space Administration signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at creating an International Lunar Research Station. 

This envisaged China mounting three missions – Chang’e 6, 7 and 8 – to establish the problems and solutions involved in building a base for experiments and research that could be operated remotely.

The first of these missions is scheduled for May.

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