Thanks to a new funding injection, British engineers can now construct an oxygen-hunting robot and a space-based power station, to name a few examples.
George Freeman, the science minister, has announced a £2 million boost for 13 new initiatives that utilise cutting-edge methods to energy, communication, and resources.
Rolls-Royce is creating a power station for space that may generate water and breathing oxygen, according to the UK Space Agency (UKSA).
Another will create new technology that can endure the high amounts of radiation on Mars, while a third will create a communications tool for astronauts to overcome the time difference between Mars and Earth.
Engineers will also create a robot that will scour lunar rocks for resources such as oxygen and water.
Mr Freeman, who announced the funding during British Science Week, said the “finding breakthroughs” will benefit “people on Earth” as well as the UK’s net-zero emissions goals.
The UKSA funding, according to Abi Clayton, Rolls-future Royce’s programmes director, was “essential” in allowing the Rolls-Royce Micro-Reactor development programme to continue.
Gateway to the Moon
The micro-reactors generate energy that is cleaner and more inexpensive.
“This demonstrates the genuine importance of public-private partnerships,” she said, “as we combine the UK Space Agency’s space domain experience with our own unique nuclear expertise.”
“By working together, we can achieve ambitious technological firsts for the United Kingdom as we construct future power systems.”
The United Kingdom has contributed £180 million to the European Space Agency’s (ESA) global exploration programme over a five-year period.
It is leading the Sample Fetch Rover project, which will play a key role in the joint NASA/ESA Mars Sample Return mission. It is also supporting international efforts to return humans to the moon, with industry expected to build parts of the Lunar Gateway, a planned small space station in lunar orbit that will serve as a solar-powered communication hub.