The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s (ANSTO) nandin Innovation Centre will design and build a heating unit to be used to warm critical instruments in space on future Australian space missions.
Deep tech startup Ouranos Systems, supported by the NSW Government funded ANSTO FutureNow Scholarships and nandin are backed by a ‘Moon to Mars’ grant, sponsored by the Australian Government, to construct a self-contained Radioisotope Heating Unit (RHU).
Ouranos Systems co-founder Dr Robert Mardus-Hall said the RHU is basically a ‘space heater’ which ensures critical instruments on Australia’s first ‘Moon probe’ can operate over multiple lunar nights.
Dr Mardus-Hall said: “Night-time on the Moon lasts for just over 14 ‘Earth’ days, with temperatures plunging to as low as minus 180-degrees Celsius.
“With no solar power at night-time and no room for large, heavy batteries, nuclear technology could be a key to ensure success.”
nandin was created in 2018 to connect industry, deep tech startups, entrepreneurs and graduate students, to create a supportive network for innovation.
Dr Robert Mardus-Hall, and Andrew Pastrello developed their vision for a RHU to the point where Ouranos Systems is now a founding contributor to Australia’s mission to space.
Dr Mardus-Hall said: “We came to ANSTO with an idea.
“Thanks to the resources, support and expertise offered – we’ve been able to see our idea flourish into a company supporting an exciting emerging industry within Australia.
“Nuclear technology may be a key component in the future exploration of space, and we are so grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of it.”
ANSTO Reactor Heat Transfer Specialist Dr Mark Ho said that the ‘space heater’ will become a key component of many instruments that Australia sends into space.
Dr Ho said: “In Space Exploration, every component is critical to success, from the space capsule down to the smallest check light – If one thing fails, the entire mission can fail.”
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