The UK Space Agency has announced new funding to support ambitious plans for the exploration of space. 

The funding call from the UK Space Agency’s Space Exploration programme invites the space sector to bid for up to £500,000 to boost technology that will support and advance robotic and human exploration of Low Earth Orbit, the Moon and Mars. 

Proposals could include ideas to develop space-based nuclear power, technology that supports human and robotic exploration, tech to support potential future exploration missions and techniques for extracting mineral resources in space. 

The development of space-based nuclear reactors, for example, could potentially lead to the more efficient use of technology on Earth, such as quickly deployable microreactors to restore power to disaster-hit areas. 

Sue Horne, Head of Space Exploration at the UK Space Agency, said: “Exploration of Low Earth Orbit and our surrounding celestial neighbours delivers important breakthroughs that advance our understanding of the universe, opens up economic possibilities and make life better back on Earth. 

“The UK has provided expertise and equipment to some of the most high-profile space missions of recent times.  

“This funding will help our world-class space sector kickstart new technological successes, allowing us to explore our solar system further.” 

The deadline for applications is 5pm on 31 August 2021. Organisations can bid for between £50,000-£500,000.