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China Treating Helium-3 On The Moon Seriously

Apparently, Chinese nuclear scientists are looking at lunar surface material samples brought back by the Chang'e 5 lunar exploration mission, in particular a sample is believed to contain helium-3. Helium-3 is rare on Earth and might be useful in fusion reactors.

[One] study concluded that to supply 10% of the global energy demand by 2040, roughly 200 tons of Helium-3 would be required annually. To do this would require a regolith mining rate of about 630 tons per second. This number is based on an optimistic concentration of 20 ppb helium-3 in the lunar regolith. All this translates to a requirement of between 1,700 to 2,000 helium-3 mining vehicles.

Based on these numbers, the required power for mining operations would be as high as 39 GW, with a resulting power system mass of the order of 60,000 to 200,000 tons. To support the mining operation, a fleet of three lunar ascent/descent vehicles and 22 continuous-thrust orbit-transfer vehicles would be needed. And the expected annual costs are in the trillion-dollar range.

Via SpaceDaily.

Fans recall the excellent 2009 film Moon which showed mining Helium-3 from the moon's regolith.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/9/2021)

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