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Moon Soil - A fantastic source of Helium 3 - Treasure of Energy

Helium-3 is considered a safe, environmentally friendly fuel candidate for these generators, and while it is scarce on Earth it is plentiful on the moon.




Moon Soil
As a result, scientists have begun to consider the practicality of mining lunar Helium-3 as a replacement for fossil fuels.

"After four-and-half-billion years, there should be large amounts of helium-3 on the moon," said Gerald Kulcinski, a professor who leads the Fusion Technology Institute at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Last year NASA administrator Mike Griffin named Kulcinski to lead a number of committees reporting to NASA's influential NASA Advisory Council, its preeminent civilian leadership arm.

The Council is chaired by Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Hagan "Jack" Schmitt, a leading proponent of mining the moon for helium 3.

Schmitt, who holds the distance record for driving a NASA rover on the moon (22 miles through the Taurus-Littrow valley), is also a former U.S. senator (R-New Mexico).

The Council was restructured last year with a new mission: implementing President Bush's "Vision for Space Exploration," which targets Mars as its ultimate destination. Other prominent members of the Council include ex-astronaut Neil Armstrong.

Schmitt and Kulcinski are longtime friends and academic partners, and are known as helium-3 fusion's biggest promoters.




Moon Water Soil
At the Fusion Technology Institute, Kulcinski's team has produced small-scale helium-3 fusion reactions in the basketball-sized fusion device. The reactor produced one milliwatt of power on a continuous basis.
While still theoretical, nuclear fusion is touted as a safer, more sustainable way to generate nuclear energy: Fusion plants produce much less radioactive waste, especially if powered by helium-3. But experts say commercial-sized fusion reactors are at least 50 years away.

The isotope is extremely rare on Earth but abundant on the moon. Some experts estimate there a millions of tons in lunar soil -- and that a single Space-Shuttle load would power the entire United States for a year.
NASA plans to have a permanent moon base by 2024, but America is not the only nation with plans for a moon base. China, India, the European Space Agency, and at least one Russian corporation, Energia, have visions of building manned lunar bases post-2020.

Mining the moon for helium-3 has been discussed widely in space circles and international space conferences. Both China and Russia have stated their nations' interest in helium-3.

"We will provide the most reliable report on helium-3 to mankind," Ouyang Ziyuan, the chief scientist of China's lunar program, told a Chinese newspaper. "Whoever first conquers the moon will benefit first."


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