The UK Space Agency (UKSA) is funding space exploration using Moon resources and nuclear power which could revolutionise the ability to journey deeper into space – including travelling to MARS.

One project is creating remote equipment that scientists can use to run experiments on biological models in deep space from Earth, enabling them to better understand the impact of space on human health and begin designing medical treatments for astronauts.

Other innovations, in different stages of development across the country, include testing improved systems for recycling breathing gases while in space, enhanced methods for extracting valuable resources, such as oxygen and metals, from Moon rock (known as in-situ resource utilisation) and new nuclear power processes for propulsion.

Ultimate frontier

Minister of State with responsibility for Space at the new Department of Science, Innovation and Technology, George Freeman, said: “Space is the ultimate frontier, laboratory and technology testbed.

“The UK’s long history of leadership in deep space science and exploration is key to both understanding our solar system and origins of life and creating opportunities for our high growth SpaceTech sector.

“This funding is part of the government’s strategy to use our £5 billion investment in space science and technology to grow our £16.5 billion commercial space sector to create the businesses, jobs and opportunities of tomorrow and the space clusters from Cornwall to Scotland.”

The agency has announced £1.6 million funding for the eight projects through its Enabling Space Exploration fund on Mars Day, led by STEM Learning to celebrate innovations in space exploration and promote career opportunities in the sector.

Investment in skills and expertise is a key pillar of the National Space Strategy to grow the UK as a global space superpower and part of our goal to enable sustainable exploration of the Moon and, eventually, Mars.

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