Rolls-Royce developing nuclear reactor to power rockets and mine Moon and Mars

  • A micro-nuclear reactor could be used to power the rockets
  • It could be reused on the Moon or Mars to power mining equipment
  • This technology can make space exploration much more convenient

Published on Mar 05, 2024 at 8:38 PM (UTC+4)
by Nalin Rawat

Last updated on Mar 05, 2024 at 8:38 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Amelia Jean Hershman-Jones

Would you be surprised to know that the original Rolls-Royce is not just a luxury car manufacturer, but also works with aero engines and nuclear reactors?

The luxury car manufacturer is currently working on a nuclear reactor to power mining operations on the Moon and Mars.

Dave Gordon, head of the company’s defense division, said the company is studying how a micro-nuclear reactor could be used to propel rockets while in space at huge speeds.

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They are also looking at how that technology could also be redeployed to provide energy for drilling, processing, and storage for mining on the Moon and possibly Mars.

Gordon also said this work is possible thanks to the amazing work done by Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk and their respective space companies.

Speaking of Elon Musk, SpaceX just launched its Falcon 9 Lunar lander.

Upon completion of the mission, SpaceX will become the first private company to reach the south pole of the moon.

According to Dave, Rolls-Royce is the only company on the planet that does mechanical, electrical, and a full end-to-end lifecycle of nuclear capability. 

The manufacturer could use its experience in developing nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Navy for 60 years in its newest venture.

They can apply what they have learned to spacecraft since submarines and spaceships are somewhat similar

Rolls-Royce also released a joint study into nuclear power options for space rockets with the UK Space Agency earlier this year. 

However, they are not the only ones to have realized the potential of mini-nuclear reactors.

Other countries like China have also started to use micro-nuclear reactors to power batteries and smartphones.

Mining for resources on the Moon might seem insignificant, but the white giant resources include helium-3, a rare element used in industries such as nuclear fusion.

It could also decrease our reliance on China for rare metals as the country provides 90 percent of the world’s rare earth metal supply.


Nalin Rawat

Nalin started his career by working with various national newspapers in India. He has also worked as a writer/editor for many popular websites, while still pursuing his journalism and mass communication degree. Working as a digital nomad has allowed him to inform and educate through his work. When he is not writing, you can find him playing video games or travelling the mountains on his bike.