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Collecting Hellium3

Posted by: Andy Hill - Thu Jul 14, 2005 1:38 pm
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Collecting Hellium3 
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Moon Mission Member
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Post Collecting Hellium3   Posted on: Thu Jul 14, 2005 1:38 pm
One reason often cited for going to the moon is the apparent stockpiles of Helium3 just waiting to be picked off its surface, nevermind the fact you have to process a 100 tons of lunar regolith to get a kilogram of the stuff.

Would it not be easier to collect Helium3 closer to its source? What about sending a collection probe on a close orbit around the sun (obviously not so close it burns up or gets sucked into its gravity well) where there should be even more of the stuff radiating out into space. I was thinking of something like the stardust probe could be used.

Not sure how much Helium3 is needed to prove the fusion concept but if it is a relatively small amount it might be better to collect enough to make sure it works before going into the mining business on the moon.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jul 14, 2005 4:40 pm
I think a recent Space Daily article talked about mining anti-matter particles in Earth's radiation belt. It could be a crazy make-work study--but if you want to mine helium 3--you have to go to the moon.

Particles in space of anti-matter are worth sifting out--atoms of Helium 3 aren't. The moon--regolith and all (source of oxygen) is more suited to mining with better concentrations. The moon is the goal for now.

If we can just that HLLV going--and hope that some rival power tries to one-up us with Sea Dragon--then we can get heavy earthmoving euipment up there and really go to work.

I won't be happy until I see Big Muskie type drag-lines up there.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jul 14, 2005 8:47 pm
Helium-3 sounds great since it is non-radioactive, the reaction produces no radioactivity, and the residue produces no radioactivity. However the helium-3 reaction takes place at 10 times the temperature of the TOKAMAK which has yet to produce commercially usable power. Nobody is even trying to make a helium-3 reactor. What happens when you try to spend a lot of money to build a space capability for a market that does not yet exist? Well, we know that all to well, don’t we.


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