THIS ABUNDANT MINERAL ON THE MOON CAN POWER MANKIND FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS
This is also one of the driving forces that urge nations to find ways to conquer the Moon again.
China’s Chang’e 5 mission just brought back a new mineral from the surface of the Moon. The mineral was named ” Changesite-(Y) ” by Chinese scientists and described it as “a kind of colorless transparent cylindrical crystal”. In addition, Chinese scientists also announced a new mineral containing Helium-3 , an isotope of Helium promoted by scientists as a potential fuel for future fusion reactors. .
This crystalline new mineral is extremely tiny, only 1/10 the size of a human hair. Even so, it is of great interest to lunar geologists as the helium-3 in it has the potential to change the world.
Since the time of the Apollo program, scientists have known that the surface of the Moon contains helium-3 deposits. Compared with tritium and deuterium isotopes, the main advantage of helium-3 is fusion, so it does not produce radioactive neutrons, so it is safer . But the main drawback of helium-3 is that fusion using this isotope is much more difficult to control than other isotopes.
This clean source of fusion energy could change the face of the world in a way that has never been seen before.
While this isotope is abundant on the Moon, it is very rare on Earth. This is because our planet is protected by a magnetic field against solar winds, which are the main source of this isotope.
Meanwhile, the Moon does not have this protection and has suffered from solar winds for hundreds of millions of years.
According to scientists, if it is possible to extract Helium-3 from the Moon for nuclear fusion power plants, this energy source will be enough to supply humanity “for thousands or even tens of thousands of years.” again”.
Of course, the operation of fusion technology using Helium-3 is still a difficult problem to solve. Helium-3 fusion may not become a reality before this century due to technical obstacles. Some changes in US energy and space policy could further accelerate the deployment of helium-3 fusion energy.
There are many reasons why great powers return to the Moon: scientific research, commerce, and the opportunity to demonstrate soft power. However, China’s return of Helium-3 to Earth shows another reason why the race to conquer the Moon is restarting. This abundant and clean source of fusion energy could change the face of the world in a way never seen before.
That’s why, according to NASA, China is preparing the next phase of its lunar exploration program towards establishing “a research facility ” at the Moon’s south pole. In addition to building a research base in the area, China’s future Chang’e 6, 7, and 8 missions will also aim to collect soil and rock samples, search for water sources, and test construction technology. base here.
It is likely that China is working with Russia to plan for astronauts to land on the Moon in the coming 2030s.
Meanwhile, NASA had to postpone the launch of the Artemis mission 1 or 2 times. And if everything goes as planned, the super-powerful Space Launch System will take off on September 27, and October 2 after that is the backup launch date. Upon liftoff, the mission will send the Orion spacecraft, loaded with instruments and other cargo, on an extended journey around the Moon, before landing in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California.
Two other robotic space missions, including Intuitive Machines and Astrobotic , are still scheduled to launch later this year or early next year.
If successful, they will land probes on the surface of the Moon, a demonstration of the effectiveness of the Commercial Lunar Payload Systems (CLPS) program, which works with NASA’s private companies to explore the Moon seriously. Although this program was at times threatened when one of the participants, Masten Space Systems, went bankrupt, many more CLPS missions will be launched in the future.