Amazing as it might sound, Helium 3 is not science fiction… it is real.  The following excerpt from an article talks just a little about this isotope, and it could be the future motivation for further moon exploration/colonization.  Enjoy!

  • Helium 3 in dumped on moon’s surface in vast quantities by solar winds
  • The rare helium isotope could power clean fusion plants back on Earth
  • It could be extracted from the moon by heating the lunar dust to 600°C
  • Astronauts would then shuttle the nonradioactive material back to Earth 
  • While China has expressed an interest, it has yet to outline concrete plans about how it would mine the moon for helium 

The lunar dirt brought back by mankind’s first moon-walkers contained an abundance of titanium, platinum and other valuable minerals.

But our satellite also contains a substance that could be of even greater use to civilization – one that could revolutionize energy production.

It’s called helium 3 and has been dumped on the moon in vast quantities by solar winds.

Helium 3, scientists argue, could power clean fusion plants. Two fully-loaded Space Shuttle cargo bay's worth - about 40 tonnes worth - could power the United States for a year at the current rate of energy consumption. Pictured are the stages in getting the material back to Earth

Helium 3, scientists argue, could power clean fusion plants. Two fully-loaded Space Shuttle cargo bay’s worth – about 40 tonnes worth – could power the United States for a year at the current rate of energy consumption. Pictured are the stages in getting the material back to Earth

Now China is looking to mine the moon for the rare helium isotope that some scientists claim could meet global energy demand far into the future, according to a report in The Times.

Professor Ouyang Ziyuan, the chief scientist of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program, recently said, the moon is ‘so rich’ in helium 3, that this could ‘solve humanity’s energy demand for around 10,000 years at least.’

Helium 3, scientists argue, could power clean fusion plants. It is nonradioactive and a very little goes a very long way.

For instance, two fully-loaded Space Shuttle cargo bay’s worth – about 40 tonnes worth – could power the United States for a year at the current rate of energy consumption.
According to experts in the U.S., the total estimated cost for fusion development, rocket development and starting lunar operations would be about $20 billion (£11.8 billion) over two decades.

While China has expressed an interest, it has yet to outline concrete plans about how it would mine the moon for helium.

The prospect, however, raises the controversial issue about who owns our satellite.

The United Nations Outer Space Treaty, signed by China, suggests that lunar resources are for all mankind.

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Written by Bo Demont