Pillaging the moon for space energy

  • © shahbasharat @ flickr.com

    © shahbasharat @ flickr.com

    Global warming, the limited nature of crude oil reserves and a universal change in the mindset over nuclear energy have created uncertainty over ensuring a stable source of clean energy for the long-term future.

  • Recently, debate has started about the possibility of mining the moon for Helium-3.
  • Helium-3 is a stable isotope of helium, the gas used to fill party balloons – and is notable because it’s missing a neutron, an important property that means it can be used in nuclear fusion reactions to produce clean energy. Fusion reactions between Helium-3 and deuterium, which creates normal helium and a proton without a neutron, wastes less energy. It’s the proton that’s important; manipulating it in an electric field produces energy.
  • The Helium-3 fusion process is about 70 percent efficient compared to coal and natural gas, which are only about 20 percent efficient.

There is significant progress to be made before mining of helium-3 becomes a possibility as an energy source, including technical and logistic issues. However, in the long term it may present itself as an alternative.

For more information, visit: http://tinyurl.com/cvt84fm


About Joao Delgado

Joao is a Research Fellow in Futures Research and leads on medium-large scale futures projects at CERF. Amongst other projects, he has led the development of scenarios for the future of river basin management for the Environment Agency. His professional interests include veterinary science, epidemiology, risk and systems thinking.
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