The Moon contains significant amounts of Helium-3, a crucial component for nuclear fusion. Now, India’s space agency wants to send a rover on the Moon to detect the Helium-3 and to mine for it.
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) recently announced the Chandrayaan-2 mission which has the objective to deploy a rover on the Moon. According to the press release, the mission will take off later this year. All that, because the Moon is rich in nuclear fusion fuel, Helium-3, and India plans on putting a monopoly on this compound.
“The countries which have the capacity to bring that source from the moon to Earth will dictate the process. I don’t want to be just a part of them, I want to lead them,” said Kailasavadivoo Sivan, chairman of the ISRO, for Bloomberg.
India wants to be the world’s supplier for Helium-3 and plans to mine for it on the Moon
The nuclear fusion is the reaction that powers up the Sun. Nuclear fusion and is considered the future of energy production on Earth, with vast applicability in fields of activity ranging from energy supply to space exploration. However, to date, we don’t possess the technology to stabilize a nuclear fusion reaction.
At this moment, all the experimental nuclear fusion reactors are using a combination of deuterium and tritium as “fuel.” The problem is the neutrons released by the fusion reaction, which are hard to contain.
But, using Helium-3 instead of tritium showed positive results in several experiments. Using Helium-3 with deuterium resulted in less energy waste and released protons instead of neutrons. Protons would be much straightforward to contain. The only problem is that Helium-3 is very rare on our planet.
That’s why India wants to be the first to mine for Helium-3 on the Moon where it is found in vast amounts. However, it is not the only country that plans that, as China has already sent a space probe on the Moon’s surface and plans on sending another with the same mission as the Indian Chandrayaan-2.