. 24/7 Space News .
China Pursues Helium-3 on the Moon
by Staff Writers for Launchspace
Bethesda MD (SPX) Dec 17, 2021

illustration only

Apparently, China sees the Moon as a future source of fuel for terrestrial power and space dominance. At the moment Chinese nuclear scientists are studying lunar surface material samples brought back by its Chang'e 5 lunar exploration mission late last year. One sample is believed to contain helium-3, an isotope.

This particular isotope is very rare on Earth, but thought to be abundant in lunar surface material. Verification of the presence of helium-3 could be very important, because helium-3 is thought to be the ideal future fuel for fusion reactors.

In fact, over the past few decades lunar helium-3 has been cited as a major reason to return to the Moon. However, little research has been conducted on the complete potential of lunar helium-3 mining.

One study, complete about seven years ago, of an end-to-end process for mining and delivering helium-3 to terrestrial reactors assumed a set of requirements for creating 10% of the global energy demand by 2040.

The assumed mission architecture included individual transportation elements such as Earth-to-LEO, LEO-to-lunar-orbit and lunar-orbit-to-lunar-surface. However, it was concluded that the most critical mission element was the lunar mining operation.

This 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. Needless to say, this is one big idea that will require a BIG program.

Related Links
Lunar Exploration and Space Program
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com

Thanks for being there;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5+ Billed Monthly

paypal only
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal

Meter-scale plasma waveguides push the particle accelerator envelope
College Park MD (SPX) Nov 15, 2021
Charged particle accelerators have been a central tool of basic physics research for almost a hundred years, perhaps most famously as "atom smashers" for understanding the elementary constituents of the universe. As accelerators have progressed to ever higher energies to probe ever smaller constituents, they have grown to enormous size: the Large Hadron Collider is a remarkable 27 kilometers in circumference. Recently, however, researchers at the University of Maryland have used intense lasers and ... read more

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Russia ready to 'fight' for space tourism supremacy

NASA selects second private astronaut mission to Space Station

Space Habitat Market size to grow by USD 94.92 Bn

Blue Origin plans to launch largest crew yet Saturday

SpaceX launches Turksat-5b

Webb placed on top of Ariane 5

ESA contract to advance Vega-C competitiveness

NASA 'Fires Up' Artemis RS-25 Rocket Engines with New Components

NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Reaches a Total of 30 Minutes Aloft

NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover Makes Surprising Discoveries

Out of the Shadows of the Maria Gordon notch: Sols 3328-3329

Cliffs and notches keeps Curiosity team busy: Sols 3330-3332

New technologies make Chinese astronauts' in-orbit lives easier

China's Long March carrier rocket embarks on 400th mission

On they march as China records 401st flight of Long March rocket family

First crew of space station provide a full update on China's progress

Investing recovery and resilience funds in space projects

New space economy ready to lift off thanks to Finnish innovation

Kepler Communications announces testing of Aether Network with Spire Global

Kleos' Patrol Mission Satellites Ready and Shipped to Launch Site

Long-Range Discrimination Radar Reshapes Adversaries' Calculus for Attacks Against US Homeland

Understanding cobalt's human cost

New smart-roof coating enables year-round energy savings

Nike buys virtual sneaker firm as metaverse buzz grows

Founding members of world's first independent space science mission confirmed

Life arose on hydrogen energy

Stellar "ashfall" could help distant planets grow

"Newer, nimbler, faster:" Venus probe will search for signs of life in clouds of sulfuric acid

NASA's Juno Spacecraft 'Hears' Jupiter's Moon

Deep Mantle Krypton Reveals Earth's Outer Solar System Ancestry

Cracking the mystery of nitrogen ice dynamics on Pluto

Planet decision that booted out Pluto is rooted in folklore, astrology

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.