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China Mulling Mining The Moon For Helium 3

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2716417/Could-moon-fuel-Earth-10-000-years-China-says-mining-helium-satellite-help-solve-worlds-energy-crisis.html

Could the moon fuel Earth for 10,000 years? China says mining helium from our satellite may help solve the world's energy crisis
  • Helium 3 in dumped on moon's surface in vast quantities by solar winds
  • The rare helium isotope could power clean fusion plants back on Earth
  • It could be extracted from the moon by heating the lunar dust to 600°C
  • Astronauts would then shuttle the nonradioactive material back to Earth
  • While China has expressed an interest, it has yet to outline concrete plans about how it would mine the moon for helium

Could this be feasible?

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:blink: "Iron Sky" Done already!

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As helium escapes naturally from earth's gravity, i don't really understanf how helium remains on the moon. Presumably it is trapped in the accessible subsoil witohut having leaked away, which I think is a bit odd.

Also, if we steal it, what will the poor Moon people use for their balloons?

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I remember playing a primitive computer game ages ago where you had to build a lunar base and, amongst other things, mine helium-3 for export to earth. I think it ran under DOS, can't remember what it was called though. Not bad graphics for the time though, I seem to recollect.

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Neil Armstrong stepped off the foot of the ladder of the LEM, fumbled around in the moon dust, located the knotted rubber tube that kept the moon inflated, and undid the knot.

'Thats one small stem for a man, one giant leak for mankind'

I'll get my coat.

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It's not theirs. I've seen some grainy black and white footage with a Stars and Stripes fluttering in the wind.

Exactly, let the Chinese purloin the MGM studios backlot and where will it end, Gone With The Wind in Mandarin?

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Endless fuel for an as-yet unproven means of producing electricity. Woopee!

"Nuclear fusion is always 50 years away"

As someone whose PhD was in the field of fusion physics, I can confirm your sentiment. There are still daunting problems associated with fusion power and I doubt that it'll be a commercially viable source of energy for a long time yet, if ever.

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As someone whose PhD was in the field of fusion physics, I can confirm your sentiment. There are still daunting problems associated with fusion power and I doubt that it'll be a commercially viable source of energy for a long time yet, if ever.

The potential gains are such that it'll keep getting worked at so "if ever" feels far too pessimistic. In the forseable future, i.e. within the next century or two on the other hand...

Yes though, makes rather more sense to have a use for the stuff up and running before engaging in a very expensive scheme to bring it to Earth.

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The potential gains are such that it'll keep getting worked at so "if ever" feels far too pessimistic. In the forseable future, i.e. within the next century or two on the other hand...

Yes though, makes rather more sense to have a use for the stuff up and running before engaging in a very expensive scheme to bring it to Earth.

While the technical problems involved in generating electricity by means of nuclear fusion are probably ultimately solvable with enough research effort, I have strong doubts about the commercially viable aspect. For the cost of developing and running a fusion power plant, you could buy an awful lot of solar panels to take advantage of that natural fusion reactor in the sky!

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While the technical problems involved in generating electricity by means of nuclear fusion are probably ultimately solvable with enough research effort, I have strong doubts about the commercially viable aspect. For the cost of developing and running a fusion power plant, you could buy an awful lot of solar panels to take advantage of that natural fusion reactor in the sky!

I'd rather live in a world that's wiling to spend a bit more to get the power without turning vast areas into an ugly mess (instead of the one I do live in where the future just looks increasingly depressing).

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I'd rather live in a world that's wiling to spend a bit more to get the power without turning vast areas into an ugly mess (instead of the one I do live in where the future just looks increasingly depressing).

I don't think solar panels look terribly ugly, but there is also quite a bit of research currently underway aimed at "smart" building materials, such as roof tiles that can also generate electricity. There's a lot of promising stuff out there!

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Endless fuel for an as-yet unproven means of producing electricity. Woopee!

"Nuclear fusion is always 50 years away"

and it doesn't use helium-3 anyway (although it could in principle be done, iTER is designed to use tritium, not helium-3)

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For the cost of developing and running a fusion power plant, you could buy an awful lot of solar panels to take advantage of that natural fusion reactor in the sky!

You'd need to find some way to store the energy on a massive scale.

Also the development cost is a one off, once you've got it the costs of repeating it are modest.

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and it doesn't use helium-3 anyway (although it could in principle be done, iTER is designed to use tritium, not helium-3)

There are designs for using helium-3 and deuterium which sound like they have some advantages (the fuel is charged so can be handled with electrostatic fields) and you get a proton out of the reaction as well as helium-4.

I don't think solar panels look terribly ugly, but there is also quite a bit of research currently underway aimed at "smart" building materials, such as roof tiles that can also generate electricity. There's a lot of promising stuff out there!

Compared to most modern build rubbish, not really, so there's no real issue with chucking them on most of the depressing sh1te build in the last 100 years. Compared to anything that actually makes life worth living, yes.

Also the development cost is a one off, once you've got it the costs of repeating it are modest.

Those development costs include getting it to the stage where it can be repeated at a modest cost, which can often be as much or more than demonstrating that the idea works at the required scale.

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There are designs for using helium-3 and deuterium which sound like they have some advantages (the fuel is charged so can be handled with electrostatic fields) and you get a proton out of the reaction as well as helium-4.

I think that proton means that you create electricity directly without having recourse to boiling water to spin a turbine.

sounds brill, but I'll believe it when I see it working.

reality checks:

http://protonsforbreakfast.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/controlled-nuclear-fusion-forget-about-it/

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I think that proton means that you create electricity directly without having recourse to boiling water to spin a turbine.

sounds brill, but I'll believe it when I see it working.

reality checks:

http://protonsforbreakfast.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/controlled-nuclear-fusion-forget-about-it/

There's a rather long comment on that article which seems to contradict several of the points made. The "fusion will never happen" claims always seem overly pessimistic. The ones about commercial viability are somewhat more convincing (even though as I mentioned earlier I don't see why purely commercial and economic factors should be the main drivers if we want a better instead of just cheaper world, although they clearly put a limit on what's possible at all), but there "never" is still stretching things too far. Never say never about the possibility of any technological development unless it flat out contradicts the laws of physics. Who knows what we'll be able to do in a thousand years' time?

Another thing the comments mention is a distaste for fission preventing much work on improved fission designs. That seems shortsighted IMO.

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