Mining the Moon

Posted on August 23, 2007  Comments (0)

Mining the Moon by Mark Williams:

At the 21st century’s start, few would have predicted that by 2007, a second race for the moon would be under way. Yet the signs are that this is now the case. Furthermore, in today’s moon race, unlike the one that took place between the United States and the U.S.S.R. in the 1960s, a full roster of 21st-century global powers, including China and India, are competing.

Even more surprising is that one reason for much of the interest appears to be plans to mine helium-3–purportedly an ideal fuel for fusion reactors but almost unavailable on Earth–from the moon’s surface

But a serious critic has charged that in reality, He3-based fusion isn’t even a feasible option. In the August issue of Physics World, theoretical physicist Frank Close, at Oxford in the UK, has published an article called “Fears Over Factoids” in which, among other things, he summarizes some claims of the “helium aficionados,” then dismisses those claims as essentially fantasy.

As I stated in January in Helium-3 Fusion Reactor: “This sounds pretty incredible to me and I find the claims of using fuel from the Moon economically to power our needs on Earth. Still it is interesting and just because it sounds fantastic does not mean it can”™t be true. But I am skeptical.”

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