Taz Loomans

The Moon Could Meet the World's Energy Needs for the Next 10,000 Years

by , 08/09/14
filed under: News, Renewable Energy

the moon, helium 3, china, nuclear fusion, world energy needs, helium 3 on the moon, mining the moon, space, solar winds

Mining the moon to meet our energy needs may sound like the plot from a sci-fi movie, but China is considering doing exactly that. Helium 3 is an extremely valuable isotope that could be used in clean fusion plants to generate energy – and it’s available in vast quantities on the moon. Some scientists say that the moon is so rich in Helium 3 that it could solve the world’s energy problems for at least 10,000 years.

the moon, helium 3, china, nuclear fusion, world energy needs, helium 3 on the moon, mining the moon, space, solar winds

Helium 3 is a light, non-radioactive isotope of helium with two protons and one neutron. It’s dumped upon the moon’s surface by solar winds, and is available in relative abundance. Two fully-loaded space shuttle cargo bays filled with the material (about 40 tons) could power the United States for an entire year at the current rate of energy consumption. This would require mining an area on the moon the size of Washington DC. Helium 3 is rare on Earth because our planet’s atmosphere and magnetic field prevent deposits from reaching the surface – but the moon doesn’t have this problem.

Related: Crazy ‘Luna Ring’ Moon Solar Plant Could Beam Constant Green Energy to Earth

Fabrizio Bozzato, a doctoral candidate at the University of Tamkan in Taiwan, recently wrote that Helium 3 could be extracted by heating lunar dust to around 600°C, before bringing it back to the Earth. He estimates that the gas has a potential economic value of $3 billion a ton, and according to experts in the US, the total estimated cost for fusion development, rocket development and starting lunar operations would be about $20 billion over two decades.

China has expressed an interest in mining of the moon for this substance, but the nation hasn’t set forth any concrete plans yet. If China does get Helium 3 from the moon, it insists it will be for the benefit of humanity. But given the absence of competitors in the endeavor, there is speculation that China would have a monopoly over the resource.

Via Daily Mail

Photos by NASA Apollo (Great Images in NASA Description) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons and by NASA Apollo (Great Images in NASA Description) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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3 Comments

  1. sammael September 10, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Jacquie, people have been “buying” land on the moon, sure. What they were actually buying were cute little fake deeds that have no meaning.
    The person who claimed the moon land so they could sell it claimed it by an old USA law that any unclaimed land belonging to USA can be claimed.
    Two problems with that. There are limits on how much a single person or company can claim, and they are far below the size of the moon.
    And second, by the international agreements that USA signed Moon is an international property, not USA property.

  2. Jacquie Mathis August 14, 2014 at 3:35 am

    Well first no one country can own the moon,second people have been buy acreages of the moon for years they might not like having some company land there and start mining,and with everything else it would destroy the moon,Can\\\’t destroy this planet fast enough lets head on out to the moon and destroy it too.

  3. HaPPI August 7, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    Importing massive amounts of energy into our biosphere is a bad idea whether it is from orbiting solar panels or moon resources. It will make it easy and cheap to waste energy. What impact will it have on the planet that supports us? We kind of need our home world.

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