Thursday, February 28, 2008

Helium-3 the New Fuel?

From what many people say, all we need is Helium-3 and we have an answer to the energy crises; unfortunately, this particular isotope of common helium is rare on the Earth, but there is a close neighbor with enough of it to equal thousands of Saudi Arabian oil fields. The use of Helium-3 as a viable fuel in fusion reactors is questioned by many because of the cost and amount of material needed, but it will undoubtedly be a welcomed alternative if and when the oil runs out. We haven't been to the moon in a while, but it seems that people are starting to take an interest. Google is offering money up (Google Lunar X Prize) to the first commercial venture to land a robotic mission on the surface while countries such as Russia and China are claiming that they are ready to start their own programs to land there. This activity has started NASA on a new mission to get to the moon again as well. NASA has just released detailed maps of the lunar south pole detailing Shackleton Crater which is one of the targets for a future moon mission and the possible sights for a manned base on the moon. In addition to Helium-3, the moon has oxygen and hydrogen locked within its rocks. The rocks could be mined and used for the creation of water and oxygen for the moon dwellers to live upon. The riches on the Moon are starting to be desired by countries around the world and by individual companies within those countries. Within our lives, we can see a new "gold rush" that will take place on a celestial body other than the Earth.

The moon is off limits to claims of ownership by nations just as the polar regions of the Earth, but as power shifts and fuel sources dry up, the potential for this to change is high. There could be a new land grab within the next fifty years and the battles may be fought above our heads on the cold dry terrain of the moon. It's not too far of a stretch to imagine a future where moon colonies declare their independence from the Earth and start lobbing bombs at us from space. If they control resources needed on the Earth, then they will have an upper hand.

For those who have purchased land on the moon through services such as this you may soon be surprised by the fact that you were ripped off.

Wikipedia - Helium-3

Nasa and the Moon

Google Lunar X Prize Teams:
Odyssey Moon
Astrobotic
Team Microspace
FredNet

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