What comes to your mind when you think about nuclear reactors? Bombs? Gas? For us, we think about the future.
If you know Elon Musk, you would most likely know about SpaceX and all its accomplishments. Its aerospace and space exploration endeavors have kept SpaceX in the eyes of the media for quite a while now.
Elon has always been a big thinker, and he now has his sights on nuclear reactions. Although it has been met with much criticism, his plans are coming along nicely, seeing as they have made so many groundbreaking discoveries. The newest discovery and thing they’re working on could change the world and reality as we know it.
But what are these groundbreaking discoveries? And why will they change the future? Find out as we explore their thought process and progress in this field.
SpaceX is known worldwide for coming up with maxing innovations that give competitors in every field they touch a run for their money. They disrupt the industries so much by offering something new and more technologically advanced.
For instance, they have now made mighty space rockets that far outclass previous rocket models made by other producers. Now, their newest developments have been around nuclear reactors. They want you to see atomic reactors for the power transformers they are, not as dangerous elements that would be avoided.
Nuclear reactors produce about 1 Gigawatt of power on average. These game-changers have been powering America for over six decades, and they continue to do so to this day.
Sadly, we understand that nuclear reactors have caused some casualties over the years, such as the Chernobyl disaster. The Chernobyl disaster occurred in 1986, and its cause was a design flaw. SpaceX is trying to create a nuclear reactor that does not have this design flaw.
SpaceX has been around for quite a while now, and it has gotten both appraisal and criticism from many people. Some love all the work and discoveries SpaceX makes, while others think that progress is inadequate. However, if you look closely, you would think of the latter as being valid.
They are very much interested in what’s beyond our earth and trying to terraform other planets for us to live on. They are working towards terraforming Mars, and he believes that a nuclear reactor is the best way to do it. Imagine a world on mars where you had an uninterrupted power supply, coupled with the ambiance and atmosphere in close relation to the earth. You would be able to see much more space from mars, and you would be able to live your life on it.
Currently, SpaceX is now working on a portable, lightweight nuclear reactor. Not only would this save money, but it would also save a lot of resources and energy. People Like Elon understand this, which is why he’s so passionate about achieving this.
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Many people say that these would be called “microreactors,” and they would be fixed in location and size. If what we’re hearing is true, then these nuclear reactors would be able to fit into a shipping container, which is relatively portable.
Although it works on basically the same principles as a typical nuclear reactor, it operates significantly differently. For example, this atomic reactor will use helium for its cooling system rather than high-pressure water. This replacement alone reduces corrosion, contamination risks, and general pollution.
Another difference that makes this new version of nuclear reactor better than the traditional ones is that the particles do not melt during the reaction. Naturally, this would lead to lower pollution rates because solid radioactive waste is way easier to deal with than gaseous, vaporized waste.
Its accomplishments are not unseen, as SpaceX has already begun to receive patents for them. One of these patents decreases the amount of time and money needed to refuel and maintain the reactor, and another is to transfer the heat out of the reactor more efficiently.
It’s still a prototype right now, but the microreactor can now generate outputs of more than 1MW. To help you understand this further, this amount of energy is enough to power about 1000 homes for eight years. This is excellent news for space lovers, as it means that efforts to terraform Mars have been met with tremendous success.
If they were to build 1000 homes on mars right now, this single mini-reactor would be able to power all of them. Talk about exciting.
Due to its size, this mini-reactor can be easily transported to space with a rocket. These mini-reactors can even be autonomously operated from far distances.
Imagine a world without all the excess pollution like what we have on our planet. All the waste related to power production is significantly reduced, leading to safer and less polluted environments. With the invention of these mini-reactors, the air we breathe would gradually become cleaner and safer for us to live in.