Russia, we read has “plans to build a permanent base on the Moon within a decade and to start mining the planet for helium 3, a sought-after isotope, by 2020.”
“Russian scientists have come up with the idea of using ‘lunar bulldozers’ to heat the Moon’s surface in order to get at the resource,” adding that “Moscow is keen to institute regular cargo flights of helium 3 back to Earth as soon as possible.”
If you’ll pardon a lengthy quotation:
“‘There are practically no reserves of helium 3 on Earth. On the Moon, there are between one million and 500 million tons, according to estimates.’ Much of those reserves are reported to be in the Sea of Tranquillity. [Nikolai Sevastyanov, of Energia Space Corporation] predicted that nuclear reactors capable of running on helium 3 would soon be developed and said that just one ton of the isotope would generate as much energy as 14 million tons of oil. ‘Ten tons of helium 3 would be enough to meet the yearly energy needs of Russia,’ he added. However, Russia is not the only country interested in the technology. American scientists have expressed interest in helium 3, arguing that one shuttle-load of the isotope would be sufficient to meet US electrical energy needs for a year.”
So: from the Red Sea to the Sea of Tranquillity – what future lunar wars may bring…
[Image: An unrelated example of a helium 3 mining unit from the Lunar Base Design Workshop. “Mining itself is done by robots that scoop up lunar regolith for processing. This base consists of three spheres that roll, with the structure moving from site to site.”]
Earlier on BLDGBLOG: Lunar urbanism 4.