FAQ

Can helium-3 be used in nuclear fusion?

Can helium-3 be used in nuclear fusion?

The involved nuclear reaction here when helium-3 and deuterium fuse creates normal helium and a proton, which wastes less energy and is easier to contain. Nuclear fusion reactors using helium-3 could therefore provide a highly efficient form of nuclear power with virtually no waste and no radiation.

Is helium-3 worth going to the moon?

The answer is helium-3, a gas that’s extremely rare on Earth but 100 million times more abundant on the Moon. However, mining helium-3 could be useful now, because of its non-energy applications. A major one is its ability to detect neutrons coming from plutonium that could be used in terrorist attacks.

Will fusion energy ever be possible?

Normally, fusion is not possible because the strongly repulsive electrostatic forces between the positively charged nuclei prevent them from getting close enough together to collide and for fusion to occur. The nuclei can then fuse, causing a release of energy.

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Can we get helium from the Moon?

Helium-3 is a rare isotope on Earth, but it is abundant on the Moon. To supply 10\% of the global energy demand in 2040, 200 tons of Helium-3 would be required per year. The resulting regolith mining rate would be 630 tons per second, based on an optimistic concentration of 20 ppb Helium-3 in lunar regolith.

Why is helium-3 so expensive?

Virtually all helium-3 used in industry today is produced from the radioactive decay of tritium, given its very low natural abundance and its very high cost.

Can we mine helium-3 on the Moon?

ESA has also considered using the Moon to help missions farther into the Solar System. Arguments have also been made for mining Helium-3 from Jupiter, where it is much more abundant – it would need to be given the distances involved. Extracting the molecule from Jupiter would also be a less power-hungry process.

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Could helium-3 provide us with all the power we need?

Many scientists believe helium-3 could provide us with all the power we need for 10,000 years. Even now, NASA and start-ups like Planetary Resources (a venture of James Cameron and Google billionaires Larry Page and Eric Schmidt) are looking into tapping this extraterrestrial resource.

What is helium-3 environment?

Environment. For those of you not in the know, helium-3 is a light, non-radioactive isotope of helium with two protons and one neutron. Although it’s relatively rare on Earth, it’s abundant on the moon’s surface, where it is deposited by solar winds. It’s also a potent energy source. Researchers estimate that 25 tons of helium-3 could power…

Is helium 3 a safe fusion fuel?

Not everyone is in agreement that Helium 3 will produce a safe fusion solution. In an article entitled “Fears over Factoids” in 2007, the theoretical physicist Frank Close famously described the concept as “moonshine”. Either way, it seems we will have to be patient to find out the answers.