China has a mission for the moon, and that is to mine it, especially for Helium 3.
In 2015, the United States passed the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act of 2015, removing legal obstacles to extra terrestrial activity by foreign nations, defying the Outer Space Treaty of 1979.
China started gearing up and in a hurry to be the first the mine the moon.
This extraordinary substance is the isotope helium-3, invaluable in ensuring the safety of nuclear power stations on Earth, and providing an all-powerful rocket fuel.
It is rare on Earth, being blown away by the solar wind. It is found in Troclotite, a metal of magnesium and iron, again rare but plentiful in the Moon’s crust.
All nuclear power plants react to produce heat. This turns water into steam that drives a turbine.
Current nuclear power plants have nuclear fission reactors to split uranium. This releases energy, but also creates radioactive nuclear waste that must be stored indefinitely. For over 40 years scientists have been trying to achieve this process without producing the waste and in a safer manor.
Helium 3 is how we achieve this goal.
There are around a million tons of helium-3 on the moon’s surface and down inside a few meters.
This helium-3 could be extracted by heating the lunar dust to around 1,200 degrees F before bringing it back to the Earth to fuel a new generation of nuclear fusion power plants.
A fully-loaded spaceship’s cargo base could power a quarter of the world for a year. This means that helium-3 has a potential economic value in the order of about $2 billion a ton, making it the Moon’s most valuable commodity except perhaps for astronomy and promoting tourism.
China’s lunar exploration program is proceeding fast, strongly attracted by the prospect of helium-3 mining.
In 2013 China managed to land a lunar robot lander. The final stage of their current program is sending a robotic craft to the Moon that will return lunar rocks to the Earth.
This year China is now but only two step away from making Helium 3 mining a reality.
The successful landing of Chang’e 4 and Yutu 2 lunar rover has taken China one step closer.
Yutu 2 or Jaderabbit 2’s job is the survey the moons dark side surface for near future lumar base
construction to beging in 2020 and also to collect soil samples, rocks and conduct onboard experiments.
Later Chang’e 5 will soar to the moon to retreive these results and samples.
The benefits of Helium 3 for energy are ememnse but if Helium 3 can be used to fuel Nuclear power plants, could it also be used for more ….nafarious and devistating means?
…and will they?