Hello and welcome back to Max Q. In this issue:
In a rather cool bit of news, NASA said that it’s contracting three suppliers for nuclear fission energy system concept designs for use on the lunar surface. Lockheed Martin, Westinghouse and IX (a joint venture from Intuitive Machine and X-Energy) were the three winning bidders. Each will work with partners to develop “initial concepts,” and will receive around $5 million for that work, which is expected to take around 12 months.
NASA is aptly partnering with the Department of Energy (DOE) on this project, and the specs include a 40-kilowatt power-generation capability, capable of generating that for at least a decade. That’s about what a full charge on a current entry-level Nissan Leaf contains — but as a fission generator it would obviously provide that continuously.
It may not seem like much, but deployed singularly or in groups to support a lunar base, it could solve a lot of the challenges of the kind of prolonged occupancy of the moon that NASA plans to eventually establish through its Artemis program, which seeks to return humans to our largest natural satellite for ongoing science missions.
To be clear, Epsilon’s OS isn’t seeking to innovate on Windows or macOS; instead, it wants to improve the software tools that have been used in the space industry for decades. Although the company is quite young, its software is already being used by many companies. “We looked at year to date launches, and 20% of those teams are using Epsilon3,” Mednik told TechCrunch.
This photo, taken on February 7, 1984, shows astronaut Bruce McCandless II on an untethered space walk. In this photo he’s approaching his maximum distance from the Space Shuttle Challenger. Far out.
Max Q is brought to you by me, Aria Alamalhodaei. If you enjoy reading Max Q, consider forwarding it to a friend.